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好莱坞的希望在中国?

Michal Lev-Ram 2017年05月27日

北美院线上座率持续不振,中国市场成好莱坞最大希望。

 

 

夏季一般是好莱坞票房大爆的季节,每到暑期档,院线里全是一线影星惊险逃过爆炸的镜头,布景也都造价不菲。尽管今年同样有一连串超级英雄冲刺大银幕,也解决不了好莱坞的难题:上座率还是不温不火。

过去十年,美国和加拿大的年度合计票房已经缩水8000万美元。

同时,人均观影率自2007年以来下跌14%,降至每人每年购买不足四张电影票。其实算下来,2016年的票房还增长了2%,达到114亿美元。但如果吸引不了更多观众(而不只是想办法卖更多爆米花),美国影业公司的老板们就很快会面临现实危机:要不要持续提高电影票价,最后把去影院看电影变成小众的体验?就算能不断涨价,又能涨多久?这些都是让好莱坞高层夜不能寐的问题(可能睡不着爬起来看Netflix,然后更焦虑)。

然而,中国市场为好莱坞带来了走出困境的希望。和美国消费者不同,中国观众还在涌去电影院。在中国,能放映的片子都还没那么多,影院倒是一座接一座建得飞快。于是,美国电影公司迎来巨大商机,他们一直想尽办法将14亿中国人变成自家系列大片的忠实粉丝。

中国到底有多少影院?仅去年一年,中国就增加了7500多块银幕,全国银幕总数已经超过美国。相比之下,2013年以来美国银幕总数一直维持在4万块左右。在不远的将来——预计最快几个月最慢两年,中国也将超越美国成为全球最大的票房市场。中国的传媒与娱乐业市值已达约1800亿美元。

哪种影片能在中国大卖?

随着美国电影公司要迎合海外观众,中国观众的口味也在改变好莱坞。今年4月,《速度与激情》(The Fate of the Furious)系列第8部电影(下称“速8”)成为好莱坞在中国最卖座的影片。以下是该片大卖的几大要素,预计今后会越发常见。

充满动作戏:大场面的特效、简单的剧情、俊男美女出演,这些元素帮助速8迅速弥合文化差异。

不要太出格:中国电影没有分级制,中国审查者会砍掉有关性、暴力和政治色彩过浓的内容。如果电影分级,有低俗镜头的电影会要求家长指导观看,速8就不需要。

实现3D效果:在亚洲,78%的银幕可以播放3D效果,美国的3D屏幕只占39%。

美国电影对中国观众有吸引力,为保护国产电影设置的进口片限额影响不大。中国不但控制引进影片的数量,还限制票房分成。但好莱坞也迎来利好:为了满足国内影院需求,中国已经将进口影片量的上限由34部调升至38部。虽然唐纳德•特朗普当选后中美贸易关系偏紧张,但进口影片限额今年有望进一步上调。

不过,美国影业公司还有一个拦路虎:中国同行。目前,中国本土电影公司的作品大多属于荒诞主义喜剧,对观众吸引力有限,而且缺少能确保叫座的大牌IP(例如即将上映的美国大片《神奇女侠》(Wonder Woman)和《蜘蛛侠》(Spider-Man))。然而,中国最高票房纪录的保持者还是国产片。2016年,周星驰导演的科幻浪漫喜剧《美人鱼》票房劲收将近5.27亿美元。中国影业巨头大连万达正在青岛开发全球最大影视基地。

从数字看火爆的中国电影市场

2012年以来,中国票房增长了144%,同期北美票房仅增长6%。

截至去年年底,中国电影屏幕合计40917块,是2013年的两倍还多,并且超过了美国去年末的40759块。

《速度与激情》82%的票房来自美国以外市场。

正因为票房火爆,好莱坞才要想方设法在中国影业腾飞以前要在华站稳脚跟。目前来看收效还不错。最近的速8在中国赢得3.88亿美元票房,创造了好莱坞影片在华票房的记录。该片在美国本土票房仅有2.15亿美元。

这种票房差异意味着巨大的商机。美国南加州大学专家克莱顿•杜贝认为:“暴力破坏,英雄勇敢拯救世界,都是全人类容易理解的元素。”

考虑到中国观众对知名动作大片的兴趣,可能好莱坞接下来会推出更多打打砸砸的续篇、前传、翻拍片和重拍片。可能提不起美国观众的兴趣,但会缓解好莱坞对上座率增长缓慢的担忧,至少短期趋势如此。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

Summer is supposed to be Holly¬wood’s most glorious season, a time for tentpole franchises to showcase A¬list actors implausibly escaping from expensively produced explo¬sions. But this year, even the slew of superhero flicks careering toward the big screen can’t fight off Hollywood’s most fearsome foe: stagnating theater attendance.

Over the past decade, the number of tickets sold annu¬ally in the U.S. and Canada has sunk by 80 million.

Meanwhile, per capita attendance fell 14% since 2007, to just under four tickets per person per year. To be fair, box¬ office sales ticked up 2% in 2016, to $11.4 billion, but unless U.S. theater owners find a way to lure larger crowds (and not just sell more popcorn), they will soon face an existential crisis: Do you keep raising prices, even if it means the cinema becomes a niche experience? And if so, how long can that last? Those are the questions that keep studio execs up at night (pre¬sumably watching Netflix).

Photo: Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

However, there is a silver lining to Hollywood’s dilemma—China. Unlike their American counterparts, Chinese consumers are flocking to the theaters. And China is building them out faster than they can fill them with movies. The result is a rich opportunity for U.S. film¬makers who have long been aching to turn China’s nearly 1.4 billion people on to its roster of recycled franchises.

Just how many theaters does China need to fill? Last year alone, the country added more than 7,500 sil¬ver screens, and its national total surpassed the number in the U.S., which has stayed constant at about 40,000 since 2013. At some point in the near future—projections range from a few months to two years—China will also overtake the U.S. as the largest generator of box¬ office revenue in the world. Already, the Chinese media and entertainment industry as a whole is worth an esti¬mated $180 billion.

What Makes a Blockbuster … in China?

Chinese tastes are changing U.S. films as studios woo audiences abroad. The Fate of the Furious became China’s bestselling Hollywood movie ever in April. Here, a few keys to its success in the country. Expect more where this came from.

Action-packed: Big stunts, simple plots, and beautiful actors helped F8 bridge the cultural divide.

Not subversive: China has no rating system. Instead, censors cut out sex, violence, and overly political content. Risqué movies get a parental advisory, which F8 avoided.

Available in 3D: In Asia, 78% of movie screens are 3D. It’s only 39% in the U.S.

China’s audiences are attractive to U.S. studios; its protectionist caps on im¬ported movies, not so much. The country limits both the number of foreign films allowed in, and the profits allowed out. The good news for Hollywood: As China looks to fill its theaters, it has upped its foreign movie cap from 34 to 38. And despite the heightened trade tensions following the elec¬tion of Donald Trump, that number is expected to rise even more this year.

U.S. studios have another obstacle, though: Chinese studios. Right now, mainland moviemakers spin out most¬ly absurdist comedies with limited appeal, and lack the big brand names that make a reliable hit (think Wonder Woman and Spider¬Man). Yet the highest¬ grossing flick of all time in the country is homegrown. Stephen Chow’s 2016 hit The Mermaid, a sci¬fi romantic comedy, raked in nearly $527 million. And conglomerate Dalian Wanda is currently develop¬ing one of the largest movie¬ production facilities in the world in Qingdao.

China’s Movie Magic: By the Numbers

144% growth in China’s box-office revenue since 2012. North American growth was just 6% in the same period.

40,917 number of movie screens in China at the end of last year, more than double what it was in 2013, and surpassing the 40,759 in the U.S.

82% share of box-office sales for The Fate of the Furious that came from outside the U.S.

That’s left Hollywood scrambling to get a foothold before Chinese studios take off—and so far, it’s work¬ing. The Fate of the Furious recently made $388 million at China’s box office, the most of any Hollywood film there to date. It earned just $215 million stateside.

Therein lies the opportu¬nity: “Smashing stuff up and being brave—those kinds of things tend to translate well,” says Clayton Dube, an expert at the University of Southern California.

Given China’s appetite for well¬ known action fran¬chises, it’s likely we’ll see even more smash¬’em¬ up sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots coming out of Hollywood. That may not excite all U.S. audiences, but it will ease studios’ fears about slowing growth—at least for now.

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