Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Briefly: Over the last couple years we’ve started to hear about a lot of films (such as Looper, The Expendables 2, Cloud Atlas and the in-progress Iron Man 3) that add a Chinese actor or two and shoot at a few locations in China in order to access both local funding, and the ever-expanding Chinese film audience. The Chinese government has strict rules on the number of foreign films allowed to play in the country in a given year (only about three dozen are cleared), but the rules for exhibition are different for co-productions that use Chinese money, stars, and locations. Co-productions get a guaranteed release window in the country, and share more revenue than foreign films.
Things are changing. Variety reports that the government there is cracking down on “abuses” of the co-production system. Any would-be co-production will now have to have 1/3 of their financing from China, with a primary Chinese cast, and at least some local shooting locations.
Zhang Peiming, the deputy bureau chief of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said, “Some so-called co-production movies just do superficial changes, with little investment from China and use very few Chinese elements, and call it a co-production. These co-productions get around the quota system, and take domestic investment away and threaten Chinese movies.” So now will we see studios and (more likely) independent producers looking for coin complying with the rules, and using far more Chinese resources in films? Either way, glad Looper got to take advantage of the lax older enforcement before this crackdown.