Communist China’s Hollywood Takeover


The American movie theater industry is largely in the hands of a small number of companies. Half the movie screens in America are controlled by only four companies, Regal, AMC, Cinemark and Carmike.

AMC is the second largest theater chain in the country and it owns around 22 percent of the movie theater screens in the country. And it has been sold to China’s Dalian Wanda Group.

Aside from the usual economic impact of such a move, Dalian Wanda Group is now in the position of controlling what movies are shown in American theaters.

With control over nearly a quarter of the country’s screens, more in major cities, AMC/Dalian Wanda Group can dictate content to theaters.

The sale alone isn’t news, it happened last year, but Dalian Wanda Group is not stopping there. It plans to invest 10 billion in the American movie industry and it is looking at co-productions with American studios. In the old days there would be talk of a monopoly, but politicians have long since learned to ignore monopoly issues when it comes to Hollywood.

So what exactly is the Dalian Wanda Group? Its chairman Wang Jianlin is a prominent member of the Communist Party and is closely tied to the regime. The AMC filing even lists Jianlin’s role as a deputy to the 17th Congress National Congress of the Communist Party of China Congress. It avoids however listing the Communist part of that.

Meanwhile Chinese Communist censors are already overseeing many American films at the production and even the script stage, with the acceptance of censorship being the only way to make it through the red silk curtain.

When “Kung Fu Panda 3” kicks its way into China’s theaters in 2016, the country’s vigilant film censors will find no nasty surprises. After all, they have already dropped in to monitor the movie at the DreamWorks Animation campus here. And the story line, production art and other creative elements have met their approval.

Co-productions like “Kung Fu Panda 3” draw close monitoring by the censors at every step. Scripts are submitted in advance. Representatives of S.A.R.F.T., according to Mr. Cohen and others, may be present on the set to guard against any deviation.

At the top of S.A.R.F.T. is Cai Fuchao, a recent member of the Communist Party Central Committee. In a previous municipal post in Beijing, he was widely reported to have policed Web sites for banned material with the help of 10,000 volunteers, and to have joined in a roundup of a million illegally published books in 2004.

The irony is that Hollywood leftists once protested anti-Communist censorship, but are now voluntarily accepting Communist censorship.

Steven Soderbergh, whose film “Contagion” was shot partly in Hong Kong, said the participation of China’s censors simply added to the chorus of input that surrounds every big-budget filmmaker.

“I’m not morally offended or outraged,” Mr. Soderbergh said. “It’s fascinating to listen to people’s interpretations of your story.”

And a little moral relativism and greed from James Cameron.

Do you consider that the same as Chinese censorship?

A.
You’ve got a little more choice in it. It’s not as draconian. But I can’t be judgmental about another culture’s process. I don’t think that’s healthy.

Q.
Did you talk to other filmmakers – your peers – about Chinese censorship?

A.
No. I’m not interested in their reality. My reality is that I’ve made two films in the last 15 years that both have been resounding successes here, and this is an important market for me. And so I’m going to do what’s necessary to continue having this be an important market for my films. And I’m going to play by the rules that are internal to this market.

  • Keiko_Infidel

    SOBs!!!. Money is the bottom line for these Commie-loving thugs. How I despise them!! I don't have the words to effectively articulate my total and complete disdain for these sellouts.

    • Toni_Pereira

      Me neither!!

    • Film Critic

      AMC is actually the largest theater chain in the United States. The Chinese film industry has been trying to work with Hollywood since the British lost control of Hong Kong. (HK action movies like those directed by John Woo and Tsui Hark were already very popular.) They recently succeeded with the American/Chinese co-production of "The Flowers of War" with Christian Bale. (Yes, Batman.)

      The fact that this story about a Chinese company buying this theater chain shows only one thing: You guys at TPNN are behind on the news and/or bringing up old stuff which sounds bad to people who only read the headline (or at best don't research the material that is being presented) but in-and-of-itself is innocuous. This will not affect America films in any way as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are the censor-happy hypocrites here. AMC does not screen films rated NC-17. Beyond that, nothing will change. Quit whining about everything and do your research.

      • Spikey1

        When you have your own blog then you can write about which topics are relevant via what ever arrangement you choose, be it by; date, general topic, or god forbid what you feel like writing about.
        When you are here, you have to; submit to the writer you are reading, his choice of topic, and his timeline for writing about it (gasp). I know this is so terrible and apparently difficult for a lefty, like yourself, to understand.

    • Lester A Barclay

      Who owns the Copy rights now? Perhaps they will censer the Gun violence in the film industry with the same common sense that Canada did. Gun violence on film is not an exercise of free speech its an act of inciting a riot.

  • http://twitter.com/musicgirl77 @musicgirl77

    There really is no turning around for America, is there? I'm beginning to wish I was a good 20 yrs older than I am, so that my time on this earth is much shorter. I mourn what my country has become.

    • Cat K

      Music girl it was great to live before the left took over but is also sad to be not so young. To have worked hard and saved only to lose it all. I wish I was younger so I could meet this threat with energy or have the energy and time to make a plan to leave.

    • Lester A Barclay

      We were here before when JP Morgan purchased several presidents. I don't know if that's any comfort to you. It would seem that I was fed a diet of propaganda in public school about things of this mater and I just found that out this year. Now why would I as an American solder want the rich to pay more taxes after knowing that? They have been buying countries from the dawn of time and every time they do all the rights are taken away from the common folk. And when the common folk want their rights back they have to pay for it with their BLOOD just like they did last CENTURY.

  • Spikey1

    China is taking over Hollywood, I see no problem with this. It is about time they shot themselves in the foot.

    On a side note: I've always hated that movies would go from; theater, to dvd, to on demand, and then to cable in that order and with few exceptions. This planned order of release was and is used to squeeze every quarter out of movie that is possible, by all the players (steps) involved, and to the detriment of the consumer. With this purchase possibly we will have a bit of needed disruption in the order of things.

    All I'm saying is that: This could actually be a good thing, I hate Hollywood, and the greatest show of all time starts up again Friday i.e. Game of Thrones <—–Not for the weak of heart.

    • Questions

      Well, Spikey, to each their own, but I love Hollywood and think it's brilliant, creative an fabulous town. Tough luck if you don't like my judgment. There's a major difference between a critic and a cynic. Way too many conservatives are smug, ideologically-charged cynics who couldn't tell the Coen brothers from the Farrelly brothers.

      As for the Chinese, screw them. This is America.

      • Toni_Pereira

        "…smug, ideologically-charged cynics…" You're talking about "The New Yorker" readership, right?

      • Spikey1

        The only point you touch upon from my remarks is my dislike of hollywood?
        Don't get me wrong, I love what I consider to be great movies examples would include; Trainspotting, Sid and Nancy, La femme Nikita, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Alien and a whole bunch others not mentioned, comedies included.
        My point was;
        I hate the actors and actresses – many in society worship them as gods when all they do is act.
        etc… this would then bring us to the general term Hollywood.
        Don't even get me started on all the awards shows that are created just to stroke their own egos.

        The brilliant and creative, you mention are often not located in Hollywood but are the writer of books. You would stand to gain so much more by picking one up on occasion instead of watching it flash before your eyes.

  • JacksonPearson

    At one glorious time, Hollywood was patriotic, all American. The producers and actors were outstandingly patriotic, and many great actors were humble war heroes.

    Then, something completely went haywire, and in reverse. The leftist took over, and now, Hollywood's against everything of value to God, America and Family. Why??? I'd sure like to know? I refuse to contribute a dime to commies.

    • Questions

      You believe that Michele Malkin/Michael Medved mythology, too, I see. Most people go to the movies for fun and insight, not Mandatory Patriotic Uplift (i.e., propaganda).

      • Drakken

        And you call us on the right cynical? Too funny!!!! Do hypocracy much?

  • Ahmed

    Oooo goodie….less American propaganda!

    Btw, weren’t Christians the very first communists as laid out in the 5th book of the NT?

    • JacksonPearson

      Suuuure they were, and BTW,
      just like Muhammad admitted that he couldn't prophesize anything,
      yet called himself a prophet!

  • Edward Cline

    I guess this means that "Sparrowhawk," my series of novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary era, will never be produced by Hollywood. Not that studios such as Dreamworks have ever contemplated such a project or even know about the series. After all, the series is about the American revolt against tyranny, including censorship.

    And you have to wonder about the mercenary minds of people like James Cameron. He's "not interested in their reality," the reality of imprisonment and gulags and a slow or quick death for having refused to be censored or gagged or blinded. To him, that "reality" doesn’t exist. He doesn't mind, just as long as he has another resounding film success and just as long as no one points out the prisons and gulags and deaths. It's just "another culture's process." His attitude is an instance of the closed liberal mind Daniel wrote about in today's Sultan Knish column.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      At least Cameron is honest in his disdain for the people living under totalitarian systems. It should make it clear to Americans what sort of system, Cameron's politics will lead to.

  • http://twitter.com/SumaitNaratiwat @SumaitNaratiwat

    Such a pessimism out there when the jury is still out! People have to move with time. A stagnant pool needs fresh water to keep its occupants alive. The same for Hollywood. It is time to move on with new management and new ideas in order to survive and excel!

    • Edward Cline

      SumaitNaritiwat: The jury is in, and the pessimism is justified. People "have to move with the times"? Which are leading to what? Censored, sanitized movies? Is the "new management" the Politburo? Censorship is not a "new idea," although there are various forms of it. It would be interesting to know the number of gagged artists, writers, directors, actors, and producers who "survived and excelled" in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Red China.

  • Toni_Pereira

    Some time ago, MGM made a remake of "Red Dawn". When i read the plot i thought it was nonsensical the Idea of a tiny little country like N.Korea invading the US(In the original version the black hats were the soviets. Even that looked stupid, but that was the time the western world was ruled by men). Only latter, i was told that the script was leaked on the web and some chinese officials put pressure on the studios to change the plot.( http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-c… )

    There is a lot of intellectual dishonesty in the world, but James Cameron is always looking for new nadirs to reach, has Theodore Dalrymple would say. I wonder if he is going to stop being judgmental of his on culture…

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Can't attack China in Hollywood anymore.

  • Film Critic

    AMC is actually the largest theater chain in the United States. The Chinese film industry has been trying to work with Hollywood since the British lost control of Hong Kong. (HK action movies like those directed by John Woo and Tsui Hark were already very popular.) They recently succeeded with the American/Chinese co-production of "The Flowers of War" with Christian Bale. (Yes, Batman.)

    The fact that this story about a Chinese company buying this theater chain shows only one thing: You guys at TPNN are behind on the news and/or bringing up old stuff which sounds bad to people who only read the headline (or at best don't research the material that is being presented) but in-and-of-itself is innocuous. This will not affect America films in any way as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are the censor-happy hypocrites here. AMC does not screen films rated NC-17. Beyond that, nothing will change. Quit whining about everything and do your research.

    • Drakken

      So please explain to the rest of us plebes why China is now above any criticism and everything American is bad? I await with baited breath your most intellecual discourse.

      • Film Critic

        I didn't say China is above criticism nor did I say "everything American is bad."

        The company has owned AMC for a year. Did you notice a difference in what AMC has screened in the past year? AMC did a special event for "A Good Day to Die Hard" – a movie which is a throwback to Cold War politics in which the "Cowboy" saves the day. The Avengers was released earlier this year and the plotline was about a global threat which can only be thwarted by 5 Americans and an alien who aligns himself with America. SImilar plot line in Battleship: global threat, only America can save the day. Remake of Red Dawn: enough said. Act of Valor (half of which was paid by U.S. tax dollars). All of these released in 2012. Do you really think Hollywood is some anti-American propoganda machine?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      AMC is currently listed as the second largest. We're not talking about bringing in HK directors, but about allowing a Communist Party linked company to control a quarter of the movie screens in the country.

      And about allowing China's Communist censors control over movie production at the script stage.

      • Film Critic

        Studios and production companies have had nothing to do with theaters since Hollywood was still using the Star System. There are laws similar to those regarding anti-monopolies that prevent studios/production companies from owning theater chains.

        Again, do your research. Or at a minimum, look at some of the items around your house and see how many were made in China.

        • Film Critic

          And besides…… Worst case scenario everything you fear will happen will happen. Then you just boycott the theater chain giving rise to independant cinemas (small businesses).

  • James

    A lot of the comments I have read are short on history and common sense. It was not to long ago that we (US) were engaged in a struggle with the evii empire ( socialist and communist.) Now they inherit the white house and congress. We are so proud are we not America.

  • Cat K

    I stopped consuming Hollywood a while back and most TV too. The older 'feel good' movies and shows had, if not outright patriotism, at least morals that average people could identify with. There were heroes who were often individualists. The viewer could feel they shared values with the characters and that created emotional investment. I do not share values with current movie themes or characters, so why watch? It is not a satisfying or beneficial experience.

  • Bright Knight

    There is not so much that can be taken over. Hollyweird and the Celebridiots are already on this trip…