‘The Battle of Images: The Sino-Hollywood Negotiation’

Hollywood dominated Chinese film market during China’s Republic era, triggering a mixture of fascination and resistance. The Communist victory in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 led to an official ban on Hollywood imports by the PRC government in 1950. China’s film market reopened to Hollywood in 1994 amidst China’s declining domestic output and theatre attendance. Hollywood has since become a regular fixture in China, spurring simultaneously rejection, admiration, emulation, competition and coercion. Rejection and repulsion for Hollywood’s historical injustice to the China image; admiration and emulation for the sheer allure and market prowess of Hollywood pictures; competition and coercion for Hollywood’s global dominance and a new determination to draft Hollywood into serving China’s global image campaign. This talk compares the context and terms of Hollywood’s Republic era China triumph to those of its repeated performance in the post-1994 era, and the subsequent expansion of a powerful Chinese film market to suggest historical contingencies, continuities and changes in an ongoing Sino-Hollywood dynamic with competing political, cultural and economic interest on and off screen.