• Ernie Diaz

Show’s Over, Folks

On China’s well-over-99 list of problems, finding good CGI help for movies isn’t really one. “But what about China’s development as a global cinematic powerhouse?” you retort. “How, oh how, can China rival Hollywood’s flashy imports?”

It just doesn’t matter like it used to. Ask Zoomers, Chinese or otherwise. They’re not likely to answer; they’ll be too busy playing one of their consarn-it computer games. Consider: of Tencent’s harmonious USD70b in revenue last year, roughly a third came from online games. Tencent’s the biggest, but hardly the only game-provider in town.

Meanwhile, China’s entire box-office revenue in 2020 was just north of USD3b. Just a lil’ Covid dip? Hardly. Hence the hand-wringing of China movie directors everywhere, as specialized digital effect creators flock en masse from picayune movie salaries to the gaming industry, where there are no movie stars to eat up budget.

“It’s an interesting development, because it underlines the gradual supplanting of traditional entertainment with gaming,” says Edward Lehman. “The appeal translates directly to the Chinese market, which has parallel characteristics and even more potential, due to scale.”

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