Senior Capstone 2021
Mixed Appeals to Chinese Ideals: A Dissection of Trends in Film
Abstract: Since its inception, the film industry has been characterized by extreme volatility in terms of financial return. In recent decades, many of the largest producers in the film industry are highly incentivized to appeal specifically to the Chinese market of filmgoers as a means of maximizing profitability and minimizing risk- often at the expense of pandering to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); it is mandatory to receive governmental approval in order to release a film in the Chinese market. However, is simply accessing the Chinese market enough to guarantee profitability? What are the potential risks in promoting ideology which caters to this specific governmental body on a global scale? In analyzing the historical impact of film regarding the promotion of racial caricatures and stereotypes that heavily influenced the creation of financial and governmental institutions within the United States, there is an opportunity to speculate on the long-term externalities of promoting such media on the soft power of the CCP, especially on the global stage. This paper analyzes the recent Hollywood trend of producing films in order tap into the massive Chinese market, the economic incentives as to how this trend came to be, and the potential societal effects of this trend that may emerge over time, in context of Disney’s 2020 live-action release of Mulan.
Julia Gorti is a fifth-year Economics student at Northeastern University, minoring in Japanese. Her interests include analyzing and discussing the societal effects of all media- including traditional film, animated productions, and young adult literature. Currently seeking post-graduation employment in program management and translation services.