film distribution


film distribution
Film distribution in China has undergone significant changes since 1993. Before that year, the China Film Corporation (Zhongguo dianying gongsi) purchased all films produced in China and then distributed them to regional distribution companies. This system created a network in parallel with the administrative divisions of the municipalities and provinces. The state retained a monopoly on the purchase, marketing and allocation of films. Each film had to pass through different hierarchies of distribution companies to get from its producer to movie theatres. Under such a system, profits were not shared equitably among producers, distributors and movie theatres. In 1993, what is now the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television, which oversees China’s film industry, passed a document known as ‘Film Document No. 3’ that promoted reform of the existing cinema industry. Film producers have now gained rights over distribution.
Companies that combine film production and distribution, such as Beijing Forbidden City Company (Beijing zijincheng gongsi), have been established and are successful. Business ventures have also been made to link cinema chains directly to film producers. Examples include the East Cinema Chain (Dongfang yuanxian) that was created and organized by Shanghai Film Studio. In response, the original state-run distribution companies at different administrative levels in each region have formed single-level corporations in an attempt to continue to control the film distribution within their respective regions. As for profits, film distribution is being conducted in three different ways: profit-sharing distribution, right-purchasing distribution, and single-copy sales.
In the countryside, any company, any film projection team and any individual projectionist is now able to purchase 16 mm copies. Furthermore, each copy can be screened anywhere in the country. Increasing the quantity of distributed films has been promoted by the ‘2131 Goal’ established by the government in 1998. The objective of the initiative is to send films to each and every village in China, with the ultimate goal of screening at least one film per month in every village by the beginning of the twenty-first century.
As for foreign films, the China Film Corporation still has the sole right to distribute them in China. The quantity of foreign films imported is determined by the Regulations for Film Control and Management (Dianying guanli tiaoli) which indicate that the screening time allocated by each projection entity for foreign films should not exceed one-third of its total screening time for all films.
Wang, Shujen (2003). Framing Piracy: Globalization and Film Distribution in Greater China. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Zhongguo dianying shichang [The Chinese Film Market, a monthly periodical published by the China Film Corporation under the supervision of SARFT].
DU WENWEI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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