Is China Taking Over Hollywood?
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images October 1, 2013 12:30 PM ET All that kowtowing, and what’s there to show for it? What Are the Best and Worst 3D Movies? For years, Hollywood has been bowing and scraping to please the Chinese government, which allows the importation of only a handful of non-Chinese films into its theaters each year. The hardball negotiators of Hollywood were willing to roll over, in terms of finance and even content, in return for access to the world’s largest overseas moviegoing audience and soon, the world’s largest moviegoing audience, period. And after all that, the studios still aren’t seeing a dime from recent exports like Skyfall , Life of Pi and A Good Day to Die Hard . The reason, revealed this summer in reports by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, is a dispute over a 2 percent value-added tax that China imposed on movie profits last year. American studios with pre-existing deals in China balked over having this tax come out of their 25-percent share of the profits, so China hasn’t paid those studios in months, withholding tens of millions of dollars. Sure, Hollywood could retaliate by pulling its movies from the country, but at a time when 70 percent of a Hollywood theatrical release’s profits come from abroad, Hollywood needs China a lot more than China needs Hollywood. So expect the dispute to be resolved soon, and probably on terms more favorable to China than to Hollywood. The dust-up is only the latest between Hollywood and China in recent months. In July, China abruptly pulled Despicable Me 2 from its release schedule, citing no reason. A few months ago, Quentin Tarantino agreed to trim some of the gore out of Django Unchained , but Chinese censors yanked the movie at the last minute anyway, until Tarantino agreed to more cuts.
Hollywood’s ‘Race Problem’ Is Worse Than You Think
“She has wielded her tremendous influence to empower women both here in Hollywood and around the world, and motivated countless individuals to contribute to causes that better their communities. She is the embodiment of this award.” Adds Sherry Lansing: “When I learned that Oprah had agreed to accept the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, I was both thrilled and humbled. No one exemplifies leadership and professional distinction more than Oprah.Her transformative work as a media entrepreneur and as a philanthropist has set the bar extremely high for generations to come.The Hollywood Reporter could not have chosen to honor a more deserving individual than Oprah.” PHOTOS: Hollywood’s Private Jets, From Oprah Winfrey to Tom Cruise The breakfast, presented by Lifetime and sponsored by Gucci, Samsung Galaxy, Audi, Roberto Coin, City National Bank and Loyola Marymount University, coincides with the publication of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment list, on which Winfrey has been featured numerous times. Also during the breakfast, the 2013 Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which pairs ambitious inner-city girls with leading women executives from media and entertainment, will be presented. The 2013 mentees will spend an afternoon with their mentor every two weeks for a year learning the ins and outs of developing a career in media and entertainment. Past mentors have included Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chair of Disney Media Networks; A+E Networks chairman Abbe Raven; 20th Century Fox chairman Dana Walden; and Universal Pictures co-chairman Donna Langley. STORY: Oprah ‘Sorry’ for Media Frenzy Over ‘Racist’ Incident in Switzerland Winfrey, who spent 25 years as host of TV’s top-rated talk show, is receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of Gloria Gaines in the awards contender and box-office hit Lee Daniels The Butler. She also serves as CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in addition to overseeing a media empire that includes O, The Oprah Magazine and a SiriusXM channel. She also is active in social media, with more than 21 million Twitter followers and nearly 9 million followers on Facebook. Her other accomplishments include her philanthropic work through her private charity, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation. In this role, she has created The Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, which gives scholarships to students determined to use their education to give back to their communities in the United States and abroad, and has established The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, to which she has contributed more than $100 million toward the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls — South Africa, which opened in January 2007. VIDEO: Oprah Gives Away Car on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ Additionally, in 1998, she founded the public charity Oprah’s Angel Network, which raised more than $80 million, with 100 percent of the donations funding charitable projects and grants across the globe, helping to establish 60 schools in 13 countries, create scholarships, support women’s shelters and build youth centers and homes. Previous recipients of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award include Diane Keaton, last year’s honoree, along with Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters. The Hollywood Reporter is the entertainment industry’s flagship media brand. With in-depth reporting, analysis, unprecedented access, world-class photography and video, and feature exclusives, THR is the definitive source for breaking entertainment and business news.
Sidney Poitier won in 1963 for playing a black itinerant worker in “Lilies of the Field,” a movie based on a novel by the same name. Jamie Foxx won in 2004 for playing Ray Charles in “Ray,” and Forest Whitaker won in 2006 for playing Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” The only black man to win Best Actor for a role that could have been played by a white actor is Denzel Washington, who won in 2001 for his turn as a LAPD detective in “Training Day.” That’s one man over 85 years of Academy Awards. The situation isn’t much better at the Golden Globes, where Morgan Freeman’s performance as a chauffeur who triumphs over racism in “Driving Miss Daisy” joins the otherwise identical list of Best Actor winners. (Nor, it’s worth noting, does the picture improve when including Best Actor nominees at the Oscars, a class that includes blacks playing “black roles” such as Will Smith in “Ali,” Don Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda,” Terrence Howard in “Hustle & Flow,” Freeman in “Invictus,” Washington in “Malcom X,” Laurence Fishburne in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” etc.) Jordan has discussed enjoying filming “Chronicle,” which he describes as a win because the character was originally supposed to be a white Jewish man . “[With] the lack thereof of quality roles for African-American actors, I look for stuff like that,” he said in an interview with HuffPost Entertainment. “I want the script that Ben Affleck or Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t do because of scheduling. I want that one. I want those types of roles.” Hollywood is even worse at including women of color in award-winning performances, (Halle Berry is the only black woman to ever win the Oscar for Best Actress, in a “Monster’s Ball” role with a complex and controversial relationship with race), and this year’s Emmys were a shockingly white-male affair . “12 Years,” “The Butler,” “Fruitvale” and “Mandela” all cleared an extra hurdle: they are are all independently financed films that were created without the interest or fiscal support of the major movie studios. True equality in the Best Actor race doesn’t mean only rewarding black men in roles white men could never play. Instead, we’ll know when Hollywood casting directors and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences view people of color as deserving of equal opportunities to shine when a black man in the role of a fictional caring father, son, teacher, student, doctor, author or otherwise non-racially coded character is nominated for and wins Best Actor. Until then, however, let’s raise a glass to this year’s class of outstanding performers, because maybe, just maybe their success in this year’s awards rat race will jostle the shamefully whitewashed powers that be within the industry. Forgive me for not getting my hopes up.