The Film Bureau in Beijing is considering raising the quota of foreign films released in China to 44, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed, quoting an unnamed source. If true, the move would significantly improve partnership between Hollywood and the the world’s second-biggest box office market.
“We are examining raising the quota of foreign movies right now, probably by around 10 films. It’s being discussed but we haven’t made a decision yet,” a source tells THR.
Raising the quota could do much to improve relations between Hollywood and China, which have been tense in the past few months over difficulties regarding payment and a screening scheduling that favors local products.
While no deadline for the increase could be confirmed, the quota could be raised as soon as March, when China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) gathers in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
China became the second largest box office territory in the world in 2012, the same year the country announced a new policy under which 14 additional foreign 3D or IMAX films could be imported each year. For the first time ever, Hollywood and foreign films made up over half of the China market in 2012, although in 2013, only three foreign films ranked in China’s top 10 high-grossing movies of the year.
US films account for most of the foreign films that are released in China, although THR reports that France and Italy have long been lobbying for their films to be exempted from the Chinese government’s quota. Either way, China’s strict censorship remains one of the biggest obstacles foreign films must face to find a place in China’s box office.
“Censorship is not going to change, so in some ways it doesn’t really matter because if your film doesn’t meet censorship requirements, then it wont’ get in,” the source told THR.