By Elliot deBruyn
On Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, Chinese moviegoers may be feeling slightly neglected.
Chinese theaters have only shown one of the nine films nominated for Best Picture (Life of Pi, which earned Ang Lee his second Best Director Oscar), with Les Misérables due for release this week.
In a nation that threw 13 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) at the box office last year, it’s easy to question the motivation behind the film import restrictions.
According to Forbes, only 25 percent of films released in 2012 were foreign, but the offshore flicks raked in more than 50 percent of the dough.
Mega-blockbusters like Avatar, Transformers, and Titanic 3D have soared above all domestic titles in theaters, and policy makers are starting to catch on.
Reuters reported this month that a new trade agreement centered around the film industry will “allow 50% more U.S. films in the Chinese market,” as well as increase the box office share US studios receive from 13 percent to 25 percent.
In 2011, that would have meant an extra $250 million (or approximately the cost of James Cameron’s ego) for Hollywood studios.