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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chinese Movies Woo Women

Unlike Hollywood, which is all about male dominance in films, the Chinese movie industry is taking a different tact - catering to the female tastes.  The focus for Chinese film-makers is on what do women want to view at the cinema.

Following Hollywood's lead, for years movies in China were geared toward male audiences. But that has all changed as Chinese studios have shifted toward female-friendly movies and target the marketing of these films directly to women.
Baby monster from 'Monster Hunt'

The success of the strategy became apparent this summer when a film entitled 'Monster Hunt' - a fantasy film about the love between a cute monster baby and a Chinese heart-throb - became the highest grossing Chinese movie in history within its first two weeks of release! Its audience was 85% female.

There is a growing demand for locally produced movies in China, and while males prefer sci-fi and action movies, ala Hollywood style, the Chinese studios go to lighter fare and romance instead.  For example, last year of the top 10 highest grossing Chinese movies, six were female-friendly (five romance or romantic comedies and one based upon a family TV show).

An Yugang, General Manager of Entertainment Inc., a Beijing film studio, says "We need to build a connection anywhere we  can between our film projects and the female moviegoers to achieve better box office receipts. We need to understand what women like."

One of the ways to win women moviegoers hearts is what the Chinese refer to as "fresh-meat fever" , which refers to a number of young Chinese male singers and actors with large female fan bases. These stars generate huge social media buzz which translates into box office attendance. And, better still, these rom-com films only cost a fraction of what a special effects laden, action movie costs to produce and can easily become a franchise film.

China/U.S. movie co-productions will expand
The majority of Chinese moviegoers are still male (women make up 46% of attendance) but the research group, Entgroup, reports that women are the primary decision-makers in what content couples and families view at the cinema.

The Chinese film industry anticipates that the female impact on the local film market will keep growing.  And, not to be counted out, the Hollywood studios are getting on the bandwagon. and have begun to co-produce more female-friendly films for the local Chinese market.  Whether or not this trend will shift over to the U.S. film market is unclear, but I'll keep you informed.

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