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Rent in China

As the Russian cinema is developing the rolling market of the Middle Kingdom

Rent in China
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Alexander Isayev

Leading researcher, Deputy Head of the Center for the Study and Forecasting of Russian-Chinese Relations, IFES RAS
Sports filmmodel "Ice", produced by Fedor Bondarchuk and collected a good cash in the Russian box office, from the end of March came to Chinese cinemas. Originally it was planned that the film will simultaneously be released on 25 thousand screens of the Middle Kingdom, that is, it will occupy half of the country's cinemas. However, the "Pacific boundary-2" and the "Black Panther" somewhat pressed the position of "Ice". The demonstration of the tape started on 23 thousand screens, which is also not bad. Not bad because, in general, through the passage, although a quality film, entered into a competitive struggle with the next filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro.

For the first three days of the rental, "Led" earned $ 2,132 million and entered the top ten most box office films of the week, however, at 9 place. It is worth recalling that the film of Fyodor Bondarchuk "Stalingrad" has earned in China more than $ 12 million. In the top 10 got his next film - "Attraction". The matter ended with the fact that the film crew decided to make the continuations of the fantastic tape together with the Chinese partners.

In the top 10 Chinese rolled up and other Russian tapes. Among them - "He is a dragon", "Viy", "Metro", "Viking", "The Time of the First", "Stalingrad", "Salute 7" and many others, including the joint military drama "Ballet in the Flame of War" . It is significant that Russian films are on sale in a very impressive scale. The same "Viking", about the rental of which in the Middle Kingdom agreed the film company "Central Partnership" and distribution companies Flame Node Entertainment and Beijing United Film Artists Co. Ltd, appeared simultaneously on 10000 screens. The rental of the film for three days brought almost $ 2 million. The aforesaid "Salute 7" was demonstrated during the week in early May 2018 year and all this time firmly retained 7 place in the top ten grossing films of Chinese film distribution, earning about $ 3 million

With the film "He is a dragon" there was a unique story. This fantastic drama, directed by Igor Tsai and produced by Timur Bekmambetov, was not first acquired by the Chinese. The film became known in the PRC due to the Chinese segment of the Internet, where it got in an elementary pirated way, and where it was watched by 40 million Chinese.

The procurers paid attention to the popularity of the Russian tape among local Internet viewers and bought it. The film was released in a rental and collected a good cash, confirming its success in large cinemas. But the story did not end there. There are talks that soon it may appear "He is a dragon-2", shot already by Russian and Chinese filmmakers. The joint Russian will be a fantastic film "Defenders", which also turned out to be interesting for Chinese moviegoers.

Today's film distribution market in China is like a tasty pie, from which any foreign filmmaker tries to bite off a slice. So far, the most fatty pieces go to Hollywood. The Chinese film market is the second largest rental market in the world. In 2016, the total box office fees of the Middle Kingdom amounted to 49 billion yuan. And at the end of 2017, they exceeded 50 billion. Today there are more than 50 thousand screens in China, and it seems that the limit has not yet come.

Russian films in this market are still few: in 2016, only four paintings from Russia were released, five more appeared in 2017. For three months 2018, China has already shown two films.

It is important at the same time to recall that China independently produces almost 700 annually, and competition for getting into the rental network even among Chinese manufacturers is extremely high, not to mention the presence of foreign tapes in Chinese cinemas. Therefore, the fact that in 2016-2017 years in Chinese cinemas successfully demonstrated 9 Russian tapes, is very meaningful. He talks about the increased prospects for Russian cinema. After all, 7-8 years ago, our directors were very happy when at least one Russian film hit the Chinese market.

Chinese filmmakers have begun to invest more willingly in Russian cinema and joint filming with our cinematographers. In addition to the already listed sequels, the work on "Viyem-2" is coming to an end, although there is nothing left from the real Viya. The film was named "The Secret of the Dragon's Seal." Travel to China ». It was filmed in 3D format, and its premiere in our two countries, as well as in Malaysia - an unusual twist! - will be held in August this year.

Joint animated films are being made, the Chinese have funded a fantastic action-packed fighter in the style of cyber-punk "Hardcore", shot by Ilya Nayshuller.

Two countries intend to shoot two or three pictures every year. To this end, Chinese partners plan to invest up to $ 50 million in joint filmmaking with Russia. Of course, this figure is not very large: it is about five times less than Chinese cinema investments in Hollywood companies. But it is very important that Russian-Chinese cooperation has been restructured in a business-like manner and is now oriented towards a concrete result. Such an approach, it seems, is quite acceptable, because it guarantees joint tapes almost automatic entry into the Chinese rolling network, and into our network where Chinese films are extremely rare, too.

The development of active cooperation of filmmakers of the two countries in the rolling sphere has two motivations. First, the administrative resource works well. But today it ceases to be the main and determining factor.

The second motivation is more and more that Russian and Chinese manufacturers and distributors have managed to pave the way for cooperation with each other. Moreover, the cinematographic crisis in Russia is already a thing of the past, and our filmmakers began to make quality art films of a variety of genres, including the most profitable commercially fantastic films, war movies, great cartoons. And this could not help attracting the attention of Chinese film-business people.

Cinema is not only the most massive form of art, but today it is also a broad field for entrepreneurial activity. The concept of "film business" has become firmly established in the use of filmmakers who build their policies on the principles of payback of their products. Chinese filmmakers have learned this for another 15 years ago, Russian filmmakers have just learned. But they have already achieved a lot. And most importantly, no one is adjusting Russian-Chinese cinematographic cooperation. Of course, it is stimulated from both sides, but no one is going to arrange senseless races in this sphere. Development must go naturally, although it needs to be stimulated.

The most interesting author's cinema today is filmed in Russia at regional film studios. And, by the way, there it is very popular due to its recognizability, and the desire of people to see their own lives, to understand it and to decide how to proceed. Decent cinema is done in Yakutia. Such tapes as "The Path of Death", "Naahara", "Ghost", "Paranormal Yakutsk", immediately after the appearance on the screens won success and even allowed filmmakers to earn. And the detective tape "My Killer" was among the contenders of 2016 year for the Hollywood "Golden Globe". Kazan cinematographers today swung as much on Lovecraft himself - American master of prose in the genre of horror. They shoot their movies in Buryatia, Primorye.

Regional production capacity is minimal, financial - minuscule. But what's in full prosperity, so it's - healthy ambitions and a desire to work. And there, by the way, a lot of interesting and new ideas, and the ability to work without looking at "authorities".

Very revealing is the story of the appearance of the Russian animated film "The Snow Queen". The film was shot in Voronezh, studio "Visart Animation", and came out a year earlier than the Disney band "Cold Heart". With the cost of $ 7 million earned more than $ 25 million. Many parts of successive successes were drawn in Chinese computer graphics studios and partly funded by the Chinese.

Interest in the cooperation of young Russian film-makers with Asian countries is gradually increasing. In Moscow, the young directors of Siberia and the Far East are not very welcome, encouraging the funding for the most part of the Moscow mastodons of film production. But today almost every region, territory or republic in a vast geographical area beyond the Urals conducts its own international film festivals, establishes contacts with foreign filmmakers, and could offer a good movie. Not enough money for advertising and presentations.

It seems that there are good prospects for the development of the entire diversity of Russian cinema and cooperation with the foreign Far East. China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam have a fairly developed cinematography and a strong rolling base. Therefore, cinematographic cooperation here has very good prospects. The Russian-Chinese film link confirms this.
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