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好莱坞在中国票房降温,面临系统性挑战

更新时间:2017-7-15 9:38:15 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why Hollywood Is Relying on China to Halt a Box Office Slide
好莱坞在中国票房降温,面临系统性挑战

LOS ANGELES — All year, Hollywood executives have been brushing aside worries about box-office stagnation in the United States and Canada by pointing to strong ticket sales in China.

洛杉矶——这一年来,面对美国和加拿大票房停滞不前的担忧,好莱坞高管一直不以为然,声称中国市场票房形势大好。

Ticket sales for imported films in China are up 34 percent this year, to roughly $2.3 billion, according to the Beijing research firm EntGroup. Look at Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight.” That sequel managed only $45 million in its opening weekend in North America, but it took in $120 million in China.

据北京研究公司艺恩咨询统计,今年进口电影票房增长了34%,达到23亿美元左右。比如派拉蒙(Paramount)的《变形金刚:最后的骑士》(Transformers: The Last Knight)在北美首周末的票房是4500万美元,但在中国却高达1.2亿美元。

On closer look, however, the rosy picture doesn’t quite hold up, underscoring why Hollywood has recently been pushing so hard for film-related concessions from the Chinese government.

但是,如果仔细看看,你就会发现这个美好景象有点问题,它突显了好莱坞为什么最近如此努力向中国政府施压,希望他们在电影问题上做些让步。

New data from comScore, a Virginia-based analytics firm, indicates that Hollywood is having a tough time in China. From Jan. 1 to June 30, Chinese cinemas played 24 movies from Hollywood, generating $1.76 billion in ticket sales. In the same period a year earlier, the country let in 22 Hollywood movies, which collected about $1.73 billion.

位于弗吉尼亚州的分析公司comScore提供的一些新数据显示,好莱坞目前在中国的状况比较艰难。从1月1日至6月30日,中国电影院上映24部好莱坞电影,票房收入为17.6亿美元。而去年同期上映22部好莱坞电影,票房收入约17.3亿美元。

That is a 1.7 percent increase — a far shot from 35 percent, the figure for all imported movies. Films from countries other than the United States made up the difference. One was “Dangal,” a Bollywood drama (partly financed by an Indian subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company) that collected a runaway $191 million in China in May.

1.7%的增幅远远低于所有进口电影35%的增幅。其他国家的电影弥补了两者之间的差异。其中一部是宝莱坞剧情片《摔跤吧!爸爸》(Dangal,华特迪士尼公司的印度子公司提供了部分资金),5月份它在中国创下了1.91亿美元的票房佳绩。

Over all, box-office revenue in China totaled $3.7 billion in the first six months of the year, up 2 percent, an alarmingly low growth rate compared with what the market has delivered in the recent past. The slowdown is one reason the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the six biggest Hollywood studios, recently hired an accounting firm to audit the box-office figures reported by Chinese theaters.

总的来说,中国的票房收入在今年前六个月达到了37亿美元,同比增长了2%,但与该市场过去的发展速度相比,这个增幅小得惊人。由于这种放缓和其他一些原因,美国电影协会(Motion Picture Association of America)最近代表好莱坞六大电影公司聘请了一家会计师事务所,核查中国影院汇报的票房数字。

Any uptick is positive, of course, but Hollywood is counting on China to deliver box-office gains that are substantially higher. In North America, ticket sales for the summer are down 8 percent, compared with the same period in 2016, according to comScore; box-office revenue for the year to date is flat. Analysts have been downgrading multiplex stocks as a result; Cinemark got that treatment on Sunday from RBC Capital Markets.

任何上涨当然都是好事,但好莱坞指望在中国获得远远更高的票房收益。据comScore统计,与2016年同期相比,北美今年夏季的票房收入下降了8%;今年迄今为止,票房收入基本持平。分析师因此调低了影院股票的评级,喜满客影城(Cinemark)上周日就被加拿大皇家资本市场(RBC Capital Markets)调低了评级。

So as they scratch for growth, studios like 20th Century Fox and Universal have been scrambling to position themselves as bigger players in China, where the number of movie screens has increased to more than 40,600 from 12,407 in 2012. The accounting firm PwC recently estimated that China would have roughly 80,377 screens by 2021 — double the number in the United States.

因此,为了努力求得增长,20世纪福克斯(20th Century Fox)和环球影业(Universal)这样的制片厂争相扩大在中国市场的影响力,中国电影屏幕数量从2012年的12407块增加到超过40600块。会计师事务所普华永道(PwC)近期估计,到2021年,中国大约会有80377块屏幕,是美国的两倍。

Some Hollywood offerings have done very well in China this year. “A Dog’s Purpose,” made by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, collected a strong $88.2 million; in comparison, it took in $64 million in North America, which remains the world’s No. 1 movie market. Sony’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” collected about $160 million in China; it managed only about $26.8 million in North America.

今年有部分好莱坞电影在中国票房成绩很好。史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)的安倍林公司(Amblin Partners)出品的《一条狗的使命》(A Dog’s Purpose)在中国劲收8820万美元,相比之下,它在世界最大电影市场北美的票房为6400万美元。索尼的《生化危机:终章》(Resident Evil: The Final Chapter)在中国的票房收入约1.6亿美元,而在北美仅为2680万美元。

At the same time, however, Hollywood suffered a parade of duds in China, including “The Lego Batman Movie,” “Sing,” “Power Rangers” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Even “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” did only so-so. And after that initial box-office pop, “Transformers: The Last Knight” fell off a cliff.

不过,也有一些好莱坞作品在中国受挫,比如《乐高蝙蝠侠大电影》(The Lego Batman Movie)、《欢乐好声音》(Sing)、《超凡战队》(Power Rangers)和《亚瑟王传奇:斗兽争霸》(King Arthur: Legend of the Sword),甚至是《星球大战外传:侠盗一号》(Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)的票房都很一般。而且《变形金刚:最后的骑士》的票房在经历了一开始的火爆之后,也出现了严重下滑。

But analysts say studios are facing systemic challenges in the country, including a slowing overall economy. Chinese moviegoers are also growing more discerning; film quality is increasingly important. Movie theaters in China may also be hurt as streaming services proliferate. More than 80 million people in the country now pay to watch video online, a 32 percent increase from last year, according to Analysys, a Beijing research firm.

但分析师认为,好莱坞制片厂在中国正面临着系统性的挑战,包括整体经济增速放缓。而且中国电影观众也越来越挑剔,电影质量越来越重要。随着流媒体服务的激增,中国电影院也可能遭受影响。北京研究公司易观国际表示,现在中国有8000多万人付费观看在线视频,较去年增长了32%。

“People just don’t have time to go to theaters,” Zhang Zhao, chief executive of Le Vision Pictures, a subsidiary of the financially troubled Chinese tech company LeEco, said at a conference in Shanghai last month. (On the plus side, some Hollywood studios are benefiting from selling content to streaming services like iQiyi and Youku Tudou.)

陷入财政困境的中国科技公司乐视有一家名为乐视影业的子公司,其首席执行官张昭上个月在上海的一个会议上表示:“大家没有时间去电影院。”(另一方面,好莱坞一些电影公司也正在爱奇艺、优酷土豆等流媒体服务上销售内容,从中获益。)

Difficulties at the Chinese box office come as Hollywood presses Beijing to loosen its restrictions on imported films. Under an expiring five-year deal, China annually allows 34 new overseas movies to play in its theaters. Although Chinese regulators have quietly inched that number higher, Hollywood studios want an expanded quota formalized and have asked for at least 50 slots.

中国票房降温之际,好莱坞也在给北京施加压力,希望它放宽对进口电影的限制。在过去的五年中,中国每年允许34部新的国外电影在境内上映。虽然中国的监管机构悄悄将这个数字提高了,但是好莱坞的制片厂希望这种增加可以正式确定下来,而且配额至少要达到50个。

American movie executives are also pushing for shorter blackout periods, which China uses to promote local films, and longer marketing windows; under the current setup, Hollywood studios are given only about a month to mount advertising campaigns for their movies.

美国电影公司的高管也在推动缩短管制期——中国会利用这段时间宣传国产影片——获得更长的宣传窗口;在目前的规定下,好莱坞制片厂只有一个月的时间为自己的影片做宣传。

“That’s probably going to happen,” Mr. Rosen said, referring to more advance notice. (China controls the release dates.)

“那是有可能实现的,”罗森说,他指的是更多的提前通知时间(中国控制着影片上映的时间)。

Hollywood also wants to receive a bigger portion of ticket sales. Studios receive about 50 percent of box-office revenue in the United States, but China allows foreign companies to receive only a 25 percent cut. Studios have asked for closer to 40 percent.

好莱坞还想获得更高的票房分成。在美国,制片厂可以获得50%的票房收入,但中国只允许外国公司拿25%。制片厂曾要求让这一比例更接近40%。

Mr. Rosen said negotiations over revised film terms, taking place between Chinese officials and the Office of the United States Trade Representative, could drag into next year.

罗森表示,中国官员和美国贸易代表之间就修改影片条款的谈判可能会拖到明年。

“I would be very, very surprised if anything was in place related to Hollywood before that,” Mr. Rosen said.

“如果在那之前有任何与好莱坞有关的事情发生,我会非常非常吃惊,”罗森说。

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