Yesterday came news via The Hollywood Reporter that the Russo brothers – responsible for the last three Captain America movies – are opening a studio in China to help produce movies by Chinese filmmakers. This is due to the increase in China’s film market, where it’s quickly becoming larger than that of the United States.
This is on the heels of news that Chinese film The Mermaid will be released in the United States. It’s possible that soon we’ll be living in an age where we receive a great deal of our popular culture from China. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that this has happened in the US.
Those of us that grew up in the 90’s have to remember that pretty much everything we were obsessed with came from Japan. The SEGA Genesis was released early in the decade, and then the N64 and PlayStation followed closely behind. There was Pokemon in all forms, Digimon, and several popular anime’s like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. Basically, if it came from Japan, we wanted to consume it. This lasted roughly the entirety of the 90’s and began to taper off in the early 2000’s. There are those who still love Japanese culture, but it isn’t as pervasive in our popular culture as it once was.
During the early 2000’s to about now, the United States has been the one delivering popular culture. Dumb action movies were huge hits overseas and brought in the big bucks. Hell, even Twilight came from the US. There were exceptions like Harry Potter obviously.
Over the past five years though, there’s been a slow shift. Since China began loosening its censorship restrictions, everyone has begun looking to China as the new market. Films like Transformers 4 and Iron Man 3 have included several Chinese specific things just to attract audiences. They don’t always work, but at least they’re giving it a shot.
Now we’re getting movies that are big hits in China over here and producers are looking to invest in the output of Chinese films. So a lot of money is about to flow into the Chinese market, through which we could see a huge boom of interesting films and products.
So it’s hard not to wonder how the idea of popular culture will change in the next five to ten years. Ultimately this is nothing but speculation, but we could be on precipice of a large change.