Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Taking on Hollywood's China Challenge

The head of the Motion Picture Association of America talks about China's quota on foreign films, movie piracy, and the spotlight the Olympics will bring

It was a big night for overseas talent at the Academy Awards on Sunday. Foreigners won the top four acting awards, and many of the other Oscars went to artists from outside the U.S. But as the film industry continues to globalize, one black spot for Hollywood continues to be China. The big studios have been complaining for years about rampant counterfeiting there, where pirated DVDs of newly released movies are easy to find in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

To make things worse, the Chinese government heavily restricts the number of Hollywood pictures the Chinese can see legally. For studios wanting a share of box-office revenue, China has a quota of 20 foreign films a year. The government allows other movies in, too, but only if studios are willing to accept a one-off flat fee, with no revenue sharing.