You might have heard that China is about to surpass North America as the largest film market in the world. But what does this mean for the average North American moviegoer? How will movies change? And most importantly, will theaters cancel the timeworn tradition of serving freshly-baked apple pie prior to the Pledge of Allegiance led by an anthropomorphic box of popcorn and a live chorus of bald eagles? (If you've never seen this before, you're going to the wrong theaters.)
The truth is, we'll see Hollywood studios fight tooth and nail to collectively claw their asses atop of a giant pile of money. And the whole spectacle will be embarrassing as shit to watch.
6Product Placement Is About To Get Weirder
Product placement is the worst. You're sitting there, enjoying your film, when a poorly disguised ad comes along and breaks your suspension of disbelief. It's enough to make you want to storm out of the cinema and drown your anger in PepsiCo's refreshing Tropicana Twister (with real fruit flavor). Usually, what's regarded as effective product placement is the same technique the rest of the public considers teabaggingly intolerable. But now there's a new, baffling element at work.
Speaking of intolerance, PepsiCo's Muller yogurts are low in lactose and delicious.
That's from a scene in Transformers: Age Of Extinction in which a fugitive Mark Wahlberg uses a hacked drone in dusty Texas to test out his ATM card...
Paramount Pictures/ China Constriction Bank
...from the China Construction Bank of Beijing. In the context of the plot, that means a range-walking Texas inventor has been inexplicably outsourcing his finances in order to buy abandoned semis and extra-large American flags. Meanwhile, his underage daughter engages in a creepy sexual relationship with a Texas statutory rape law spokesman who drinks Red Bull ... imported from China?
Paramount Pictures/ Red Bull
At least those bulls have an excuse for being red.
This makes ET's peanut butter candy addiction seem feasible. We've now entered an era of longing for when the overwhelming product placement at least made some sense in the context of the story. And if you think this was a fluke, consider the fact we're getting at least four fucking more of these movies because of how much stupid money they made ... over $200 million of which was in China. In other words, get ready for the Autobots to spend the whole next movie stuck in the shape of Chinese smart cars.
In fact, the success was enough for Michael Bay to launch a new company funded through a Chinese-run toy and animation group to start developing movies based around foreign brands. Which, on the bright side, means that we probably won't have to deal with Michael Bay in this country much longer.
5It's Killing Comedy Films
Save for Bill Murray and videos of screaming goats, nothing is universally hilarious. Comedy is subjective, so when you're going for mass appeal, it's easier to avoid any extreme altogether. This is why since 2010, the comedy genre has been slowly dwindling in the United States.
*slide whistle sound*
Unlike the rest of the international market, US comedies account for only 10 percent of China's box office, making it less and less practical for Hollywood to invest in what is now their least-profitable genre. It's not that Chinese audiences don't like funny movies -- they like their funny movies and romantic films. But they only go for the broadest superhero and adventure films coming out of the US.
Case in point: When Guardians Of The Galaxy (sorry, Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team) hit theaters, Chinese critics and viewers pummeled it with bad reviews, citing the poor translation of wordplay and culturally specific jokes. Because it's not merely the genre itself that's at risk here, but any injection of comedy that isn't 100 percent translatable overseas. Which means that the next time we see Peter Quill, he might be less about Footloose references and more about getting hit in the balls with a rake. After all, a fart joke is the same in every language.
This film made $300 million overseas.
Further hammering in the stake is China's deal with the US to allow 34 Hollywood-made films in per year, so long as those films are all IMAX and 3D productions. That means the biggest reward goes to the film that has the most shit flying at the screen. Just as long as that shit isn't a ghost, because China has all but exorcised their horror industry thanks to a fun little thing called censorship ...