Superhero films were cold in the mainland in the first half of the year, and an interview with Professor Zhi Fina of the China Academy of Arts said that the competitiveness of Hollywood films is declining, and the quality and special effects of domestic films are improving

Hollywood films are not selling, and mainland mainstream audiences recognize excellent domestic films

At the time of writing, the well-known animated film "Spider-Man: Across the Universe" had a box office of 5 million yuan in 1 days of release in the mainland, and the market performance was mediocre; Disney's live-action film "The Little Mermaid" was released in the mainland for 5 days, with a box office of only more than 12 million yuan; "Fast and Furious 2600" was released in the mainland for 10 days, with a box office of 22 million yuan, and Maoyan predicts that the total box office in the mainland will be 9 million yuan, which is not the same as the 9th and 32th parts of this series, which have respectively cut more than 7 billion yuan at the box office in the mainland.

In addition to several superhero movies introduced in the mainland in the first half of this year, "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" (5 million yuan, in release), "Ant-Man 95" (3 million yuan), "Black Panther 2" (72 million yuan), "Thunder Shazam!" Wrath of the Gods (2.1 million yuan), as well as "Super Mario Brothers Movie" (06 million yuan), "Dungeons and Dragons: Rogue Glory" (4120.1 million yuan), thriller "Meghan" (7.8232 million yuan), etc., the box office is not ideal, why can't Hollywood movies sell in the mainland? The Beijing News interviewed Professor Zhi Fina of the China Academy of Arts to explore the reasons behind the cooling of Hollywood films in the mainland market. She said that Hollywood films are "routine, less innovative, or the point of innovation is different from the audience's expectations", and at the same time, "the quality and special effects of domestic films are improving", which can fully compete with foreign films.


Hollywood films have cooled in the mainland market in the past three years

Since the epidemic in 2020, Hollywood films have shown weakness in the mainland market, with a significant reduction in the number of introductions and unsatisfactory box office performance. From 2017 to 2019, the number of US films imported by the mainland exceeded 30 million at the box office, and the number of films with a box office of more than 10 billion yuan was 8, 7 and 5 respectively. In 2017, the highest box office of imported films in the mainland was 8.26 billion yuan for "Fast and Furious 71", ranking second in the mainland box office list that year; the highest box office of imported films in the mainland in 2 was 2018.3 billion yuan for "Avengers 23", ranking fifth in the mainland box office list that year; "Avengers 88", which had the highest box office of imported films in the mainland in 5 was 2019.42 billion yuan, ranking third in the mainland box office list that year.

However, in 2020, due to the impact of the epidemic on the global market, the number of imported films has been cut in half, and the box office is far from expectations. The highest box office of imported films in the mainland in 2020 is Nolan's "Creed", but it only received 4 million yuan; in 56, "Fast and Furious 2021" won the highest box office of 9.13 billion yuan in the mainland that year; the highest box office of imported films in the mainland in 92 is Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water", with a box office of 2022.16 billion yuan, far from reaching the expected result of 97 billion yuan; the imported films since 30, temporarily the highest box office in the mainland is "Fast and Furious 2023", with a box office of 10 million yuan , there is little hope of breaking 9 billion yuan.

Marvel superhero movies are falling further and more

For the market performance of Hollywood films in the Chinese mainland in the first half of this year, according to Professor Zhi Fina of the China Academy of Arts, the whole is not as expected, "routine, less innovation, or the point of innovation is different from the audience's expectations." She took the "Little Mermaid" being released as an example, although the film has tried to pursue innovation and adapt to ethnic minorities, but the domestic audience is still not interested, and the box office in 12 days of release is only more than 2600 million yuan.

"Super Mario Bros. Movie", adapted from the popular game, grossed $12.8 billion worldwide, temporarily winning this year's global box office champion, but only sold for 1 million yuan in Chinese mainland.

The routine of Hollywood film creation, Marvel movies are the hardest hit area. In February this year, "Black Panther 2" and "Ant-Man 2" met with mainland audiences successively, and Marvel movies, which had been absent from the mainland film market for three and a half years, finally returned to the mainland screen. These two movies occupy two important nodes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the former is the finale of Marvel's fourth phase, and the latter is the opening of Marvel's fifth phase.

After three and a half years of missing the mainland screen, the connection between Marvel movies and mainland audiences needs to be further strengthened. Due to the flood of network resources, "Black Panther 2" has a Douban score of 5.4 points, and the box office has broken through 5 million yuan, which is far from the box office result of 6 million yuan of "Black Panther" in the mainland five years ago. The Douban score of "Ant-Man 62" has just been on the passing line, with a box office of 3 million, far less than the mainland box office results of the previous two films of 2 million yuan and 72 million yuan. Whether it is word of mouth or box office, Marvel movies that have returned to the mainland market can be regarded as a rout and face an embarrassing situation.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has entered the fourth stage, which is also a stage of greater word-of-mouth controversy. Of the 22 films in the first three stages, only "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel" have a Douban score below 7 points, while among the 7 Marvel movies in the fourth stage, the Douban score is not 7 points, and "Thor 4" and "Black Panther 2" only have 5.4 points. From the box office point of view, only "Spider-Man: Homeless" can be beaten, with a global box office of $19.2 billion, and the global box office of the remaining 6 films has not exceeded $10 billion.

Marvel movies have become increasingly weak in creation since the fourth stage. Almost every movie released will be criticized by netizens. More importantly, today's Marvel movies are uncreative, the story is mediocre and boring, the characters lack charm, and the visual effects aesthetic fatigue.

In recent years, many directors in Hollywood have come forward to "bombard" Marvel movies. Since Martin Scorsese made the remark in 2019 that "Marvel movies are not movies, they are theme parks", director Quentin took the baton and continued to lash out: "The actors in those Marvel movies are not real movie stars, the real stars are those characters they play, such as Captain America, such as Thor." Spielberg also said: "Marvel movies will gradually decline like Westerns once were." "The controversy within Hollywood over Marvel movies has never stopped.


Hollywood movies are also not selling well in Japan

"On the one hand, the audience's consumption level of commercial films is increasing, and on the other hand, the competitiveness of Hollywood films themselves is also declining," Zhifina said, adding that the problem is not only in the domestic market, but also in the Japanese market, Hollywood movies are not selling well. Except for "Super Mario Bros. Movie", which is based on the IP of Nintendo of Japan, there are no Hollywood movies in the top ten at the box office in the first half of this year. According to Maoyan Professional Edition data, "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" was released in Japan for 4 weeks and received $908.5 million at the box office; "Fast and Furious 10" was released in Japan for 2 weeks and only got $1526.<> million at the box office.

Although the Japanese film industry is far less developed than Hollywood, its market size is still very large. In the global film market, the Japanese film market was once considered one of the largest regions, and the market box office has remained above $20 billion for many consecutive years, surpassing the independent film market in the United States and the film market in the United Kingdom. Hollywood films contributed relatively much to the box office of the Japanese film market, earning $2019.10 billion in 9 but only $2020 million in 3.

Zhifina relayed the observations of Japanese scholars, saying that Japanese audiences are also tired of watching Hollywood movies, and some big scenes in previous years can still shock the audience, but now Hollywood stories can no longer resonate with Japanese audiences. The planning capacity of large corporations is weakening, the number of top producers is declining, and there are no superstars who can attract audiences to theaters by name alone. In the Internet era, entertainment is diversified, and the once admiration for Hollywood has declined, and Hollywood no longer represents the forefront of the era.

In the first half of this year, the two Japanese animations "Suzu Bud Journey" and "Slam Dunk" introduced to the Chinese mainland market are good testaments to the diversification of the current mainland audience. By the time of writing, the two animated films had won a box office of $8 million and $05 million respectively in the mainland, performing strongly. Zhi Fina said that these two films are big IPs in the mainland market, "Slam Dunk" is "memory kill", and the IP of "Suzuya Journey" is Shinkai Makoto himself, which is different from Hollywood IP, Shinkai Makoto is like Hayao Miyazaki, he has become an IP, has his own charm, and many audiences of his films will brush two or three times.


Now mainstream mainland audiences are more inclined to watch domestic films

Zhi Fina believes that the unsatisfactory performance of Hollywood films in the mainland market is also related to the current changes in the age structure of mainstream audiences in the mainland.

In 1994, Chinese mainland introduced the first Hollywood blockbuster "Desperate World", mainland audiences began to contact Hollywood blockbusters on the big screen, and then "Titanic" and "Avatar" repeatedly broke box office records in mainland film history. The release of "Iron Man" in 2008 opened the prologue of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and gained countless fans.

"The group of people who like to watch imported films the most, they are now in their thirties and forties, they are no longer mainstream audiences, although they have a strong interest in Hollywood movies, they are in the stage of being old, young and young, and their work is particularly busy, and their consumption time is limited," Zhifina said, "Warcraft" in 2016 sold more than 14.2017 billion yuan in the mainland, "Fast and Furious 8" in 26 sold the highest 71.2018 billion yuan in the mainland, and "Aquaman" in 20 sold <> billion yuan in the mainland. At that time, audiences who liked Hollywood were still young, even if the film was not so good-looking, they bought it.

According to the user portrait of "Fast and Furious 8" by Lighthouse Pro, 20.24% of 38-7 years old, 25.29% of 29-8 years old, and 30.34% of 13-5 years old. The age of 10-20 in "Fast and Furious 24" is 27.5%, 25.29% is 27-1 years old, and 30.34% is 17-1 years old. This set of data comparison shows that the age proportion of the audience aged 20-29 in the "Fast and Furious" series is decreasing, and the attraction to today's main consumer groups is slowly weakening, while the age proportion of the audience aged 30-34 is increasing, and the film is increasingly supported by feelings.

According to the research of scholars and experts such as Zhi Fina, mainstream audiences are now more inclined to go to theaters to watch domestic films, and "the mainstream audience's recognition of excellent domestic films is very high." Zhi Fina said that the post-70s and post-80s people are more influenced by foreign popular culture and grew up accompanied by imported films, but they have entered the stage of moving from a cultural country to a cultural power, cultural self-confidence and national self-confidence have been continuously enhanced, and young audiences' recognition of excellent domestic films is increasing. Moreover, the quality of domestic films has also improved in recent years, and the special effects production level of films such as "The Wandering Earth 2" and "Assassination of a Novelist" is enough to compete with foreign films.

On the other hand, Zhi Fina also pointed out that the sinking of the audience is also a factor affecting the box office of imported films. In recent years, the number of cinemas in third- and fourth-tier cities has been large and the audience base is large, but imported films have always had a large audience in first- and second-tier cities, and audiences in third- and fourth-tier cities have not accepted imported films high, so the performance of the imported film market has declined.


The pandemic and streaming media have had a big impact on cinemas

The highlight of Hollywood films in the mainland market was the release of "Avengers 2019" on April 4, 24, which finally won 4.42 billion yuan at the box office in the mainland, becoming the only imported film in the top 5 box office lists in mainland film history. However, the following year, the global epidemic hit the global film market hard.

Affected by the epidemic, the frequency of global film exchanges has been slow, and Hollywood films have gradually lost their right to speak in the mainland market. "Avatar: The Way of Water", which has high hopes that it may set a box office record again, was released in the mainland on December 2022, 12, during the peak period of the epidemic at home, and the box office was only 16.16 billion yuan, and this box office has become the best result of Hollywood films in the mainland in the past three years.

Is the epidemic a turning point for Hollywood films in the mainland market? In Chifina's view, the pandemic has only magnified the problems facing the film industry. In the three years of the epidemic, online streaming media has had a great impact on theaters, changing the viewing habits of many audiences. Even if there is no epidemic, there will be the current situation, but it is only a matter of time.

Coupled with the slow recovery of the national consumer market this year, whether it is bulk consumption or tourism consumption, it is far from returning to the pre-epidemic state. As a result, the entire film market is still struggling to recover.


It is hoped that the Chinese film market will help the global film market recover

According to statistics, there are currently 70 new films scheduled for the summer, including a number of Hollywood movies scheduled in the mainland, "Transformers: The Rise of the Power Warriors", "The Flash", "Crazy Element City", "Indiana Jones 5" and so on. In Zhi Feina's view, there are so many films released in the summer, which will help the market recover better.

Zhi Fina specifically mentioned that in May this year, the Ministry of Finance and the National Film Administration issued the "Announcement on the Phased Exemption from the Policy of Special Funds for the Development of the National Film Industry", which will benefit summer films. "The exempted film funding not only returns to the theater side, but also to the producer, and the upstream and downstream can enjoy the stimulating effect brought by the exemption of the special fund, which helps to accelerate the flow of funds and promote reproduction." I believe that many films will choose to be released during this period to obtain more revenue. It will not only help to further restore the supply of excellent films, but also help to meet people's diversified viewing options. ”

Zhifina said that film is the cultural carrier of a community with a shared future for mankind. 2012 is the tenth year of China's film industry reform. Since 2012, the Chinese film market has played an important role in the growth of the global film market, and Chinese films have also significantly enhanced their market competitiveness by competing with foreign outstanding films. Now, the global film market is recovering. If we can use China's huge market to drive the recovery of the international market, it will contribute to the inheritance and exchange of human civilization. The Chinese film market should and can also take on more responsibility.

Written by/Beijing News reporter Teng Chao