Is Hollywood’s Golden Age in China Over?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
3 min readFeb 23, 2024

Chinese cinemas and Hollywood studios were a match made in heaven. What changed?

Photo by Levi Grossbaum on Unsplash

In the dynamic landscape of global cinema, the allure of Hollywood is impossible to ignore.

Over the past few decades, American movies have found a fervent admirer in China.

Hollywood movies, from blockbusters to franchise-busters, have not just entertained but also amassed substantial profits in the world’s most populous nation.

The warm relationship between Tinseltown and Chinese audiences has thus far proven a prosperous one for American movie producers, shaping the cinematic preferences of audiences and fueling the expansion of the entertainment industry.

In many ways, Hollywood’s domination of Chinese cinemas was as predictable as what happens next.

China’s rapidly expanding middle class wanted the same things every rapidly expanding middle class always wants: Entertainment, travel, luxuries, and, above all, more stuff.

Add an explosion of disposable income, and Chinese cinemas made perfect sense for an eager Hollywood seeking to expand revenues.

The enchanting narratives, dazzling special effects, and star-studded casts characteristic of American cinema instantly captivated Chinese audiences, transcending cultural barriers and resonating deeply with viewers.

Blockbuster hits such as “Avengers: Endgame,” “Avatar,” and “Fast & Furious” franchise have not only dominated the Chinese box office but also set unprecedented records, underscoring the insatiable appetite for Hollywood spectacles. The strategic release of these films during lucrative periods such as Chinese New Year and summer holidays further propelled their success.

Hollywood has been making movies for a long time, after all. They aren’t new at this.

But now, the partnership between Hollywood and China is starting to fray badly.

“Hollywood’s losing streak in China continued in 2023, with no American movies cracking the country’s top ten list of the highest-grossing titles of the year,” reported Breitbart News’ David Ng gleefully.

“The pitiful results come despite Disney CEO Bob Iger’s aggressive efforts to…