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Why can’t Chinese animation rule the US box office?

Friday, October 21st, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker


DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda caused soul-searching in the Chinese animation industry, says Disney veteran and Beijing-based producer Kevin Geiger. So how long will it be before China produces a comparable international hit?

Animation producer Kevin Geiger has posted an interesting article about Chinese animation, past and future.

The piece, entitled ‘China’s next 90 minutes’, traces the history of feature animation in China, and assesses how the industry will change with the country’s rise to superpower status.

Some of the figures quoted in the article are staggering: last year, Chinese studios produced over 220,000 minutes of animation, yet 75% of a production’s budget may be spent on “commissions and public relations”.

In Geiger’s analysis, both are part of the reason Chinese animation has yet to make more of an impact in the West.

Why China must change
Geiger, a Walt Disney veteran who now runs Magic Dumpling Entertainment in Beijing, comments: “Some reading this editorial may be tempted to consider it China-bashing. Far from it.”

“I work in China, live in China, and love China. The energy here is incredible. But China – big as it is – is not the entire world. And in order to take its rightful place in the world, change will be required.”

Fascinating stuff. Check out the full article below.

Read ‘China’s Next 90 Minutes’ on the Magic Dumpling blog

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  • Mike

    Why? Let’s start with the fact that, being in China myself, I couldn’t even read the article without reaching for a VPN service to circumvent the government censorship mechanisms. If one needs to introduce terms and entities like constitution, government control, cultural revolution and communist party, in the same context where animation is being discussed, one must realize that there is something wrong with that picture. Animation industry in China is not being appreciated as any different then say steel production industry and is being regulated and run as such. That aside, undoubtedly there is a lot of talented people over here and that eventually they will produce a piece that will leave a mark on the global level, however the cultural differences are vast and to me a re the main reason why these animation markets are segregated. The article mentions Japan as an example and I would agree to a point. Sure Japan produced Miyazaki and his award winning masterpiece but how many Japanese animated movies are actually hits in the western markets. Not very many. To me this proves that despite the talent, the cultural differences will remain as the main barriers. And let’s not forget that China is being westernized at a much faster pace then the rest of the world is being “Chinanized” :) Sure, there will be an occasional international semi hit, the like of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but that will still be far from a reel cultural and financial success.

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