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Hollywood is really, really ready to invade China.

Hollywood is really, really ready to invade China. (photo)

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China doesn’t need the rest of the world to make money on its movies, because it has 1.3 billion potential viewers all by itself. It’s also done a remarkably good job of protecting its own filmmakers, even if it endlessly censors and harasses them; Hollywood gets blamed for wrecking culture everywhere, but China only lets in 20 foreign films a year, it has its own state-run distributor to do it and tends to abruptly pull films mid-run. And as a result, as Grady Hendrix reports at Slate, Chinese films have topped their native box office for the last five years, though hardly any have seen the light of U.S. day.

That might change. Yesterday, the World Trade Organization ruled that China is violating international trade rules by preventing foreign businesses from importing media wholesale. While this doesn’t directly tackle the quota issue, it does mean that Hollywood is a little bit closer to a whole new demographic. Variety dubs it “a potential goldmine,” and you can see why — “Transformers 2” has made $65 million there, the most in a single country outside the U.S.

It’s funny to see MPAA president Dan Glickman talking about a future in which blockbusters with multimillion dollar marketing campaigns are treated in “a more evenhanded manner” — poor Michael Bay can’t get his hands on China! Oh nooooo! — but the big question is if China wants more foreign blockbusters, and if they would conquer homegrown titles given full access. South Korean cinema thrived under a government quota, but took a hit when that quota was drastically weakened in 2006 due to a free trade agreement with the U.S., but Bollywood continues to hold its own against imports.

For the moment, at least, state-approved films dominate the Chinese box office with seemingly no official coercion; they’ve got both populist appeal and nationalistic cachet. (Of course, piracy is huge in China, so it’s impossible to gauge the demand for what’s officially unavailable.) Global juggernauts don’t always translate (even if robot alien sequels apparently and terribly do); even if and when China eventually complies with the WTO, Hollywood films could genuinely always be second place. For a change.

[Photo: Michael Bay is ready to… Transform! DreamWorks SKG, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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