Monday, October 21, 2013

Domestic Dissatisfaction

There is fickleness (or maybe exacting standards?) in the Middle Kingdom.

... In April, the US animated film The Croods took in 392 million yuan (US$64.1 million) in 41 days, while the Chinese film Kuiba II, which followed The Croods only took 30 million yuan (US$4.9 million), although it received good reviews from audiences, according to the figures provided by the industry weekly China Film News.

An annual report on the animation industry revealed that animation films took in around 3 billion yuan (US$491.2 million) last year, or 17.7% of the total box office, and only 400 million yuan (US$65.5 million) of that comes from Chinese animations. Moreover, in the first half of this year, domestic animation films only made up 3.7% of the total box office.

Qin Jie, 26, works in a law firm and likes to watch western animation movies with her friends, as "western cartoon films have better effects." "Unlike Chinese animations which are made for kids and usually have happy endings, the western ones can go deeper into my heart and touch me more," said Qin.

According to a survey by the China Youth Daily, over 56% of respondents cared about the domestic animation industry, while almost 65% were dissatisfied by home-grown cartoons. The survey also showed that 50% of people think Chinese animations are boring and only 25% of people actually enjoy them. ...

So in Cartoonland, content trumps national loyalty.

This in contrast to Chinese live action movies, which at least hold their own against the foreign competition (30% market share -- foreign films vs. 26% market share Chinese films).

The problem, as always, is development and execution. If you don't have the story chops for animated features, and you don't have the production chops to carry out the vision, then you are at a serious disadvantage in seducing an audience into paying to watch your movie.

It won't be that way forever, but it seems to be that way now.

5 comments:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

They really need to tell more 'adult' stories to be taken seriously.

Steve Hulett said...

China has the same problem India does: It's not enough to make semi-okay, low-budget animated features, because though their inexpensive, they make little money in the world marketplace.

But it's worse than that: Domestic features seeem to make little money in the domestic market, either.

This might change as the sub-continent and Middle Kingdom learn the nuts and bolts of feature production, but right now, they both have a long way to go.

Kenneth Elliott said...

It seems to me that American films have 'happy endings' too. If he really wants to imitate the best, observe the Japanese animation industry.

Grant said...

Yeah, because Japanese cartoons are better…lol. Good one. Most of them are juvenile, and aimed at pre-pubescent little girls, and have little story or character.

But the effects are better. Because that matters…

Celshader said...

It seems to me that American films have 'happy endings' too. If he really wants to imitate the best, observe the Japanese animation industry.

When it comes to anime, I love the art. However, I'm not happy with how the artists often get treated in Japan.

Yeah, because Japanese cartoons are better…lol. Good one. Most of them are juvenile, and aimed at pre-pubescent little girls, and have little story or character.

Like Western animation, there's both good and bad to be found in anime.

Right now I'm addicted to Folktales from Japan on Crunchyroll. It's a wealth of art styles and stories. Charming stuff.

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