Revenue from DVD sales have been helping film studios out of the hole left by poor box office receipts, except in China. Experts guess that up to 90% of DVD sales in China are pirated. Hoping to take a step forward, Hollywood signed an anti-piracy pact with the Chinese government to help curb DVD sales. Hollywood has been lusting after unrestricted access to the huge chinese market for years. The Chinese government restricts foreign releases to just twenty films per year, yet pirated DVDs of US movies and television shows can be found on every street corner. China’s government has been by some accounts unwilling to cede to Hollywoods demands for stricter enforcement of anti-piracy laws.
But could the unchecked piracy of the past several years eventually work in Hollywood’s favor? Pirates have created an unquenchable thirst for American culture that could pay off in the long run if, the powers that be get it right. As a way to get around the Chinese government’s foreign release rule Hollywood execs are now on their way to China looking for partners. Warner Brothers is planning to build modern multiplexes as China only has 2,500 movie theaters for 1.3 billion people. The Chinese government’s interests aren’t exactly on the losing side either, more movies made in China within close proximity of censors works for them I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood big wigs respond to censorship and other issues they are not used to dealing with here in the US.