Thursday, August 06, 2009

Settling the Box Office Account

By Chip Tsao | published Aug 06, 2009

China is going to be the new global giant in the 21st century. Its GDP is expected to overtake that of the United States in 2030. We all know that. But how are the Chinese people going to benefit? Ask some Chinese male movie stars who seem to have a brilliant career in Hollywood.

In the year 2009, when China’s foreign reserve has reached US$2 trillion and overtaken that of Japan, why are our Chinese kung-fu heroes like Jet Li and Jackie Chan still rigidly denied a mild and brief kissing act, let alone a juicy and steamy love-making scene in a flashy B-grade Hollywood film? A Warner-Brothers producer may stubbornly respond with the century-old stereotype that such scenes would have little emotional impact on American and European audiences. Even in the early stages of planning a screen synopsis, they are likely to be vetoed by Hollywood financial executives under the pretext that Asian men look too feminine and have little sex appeal.

But American movies have penetrated into China. Even Harry Potter has been allocated a Chinese girlfriend in his latest adventure, in a dramatic stunt clearly designed to please the 1.3 billion potential audience members. As a Chinese consumer, I solemnly protest on behalf of all my male compatriots in the American film industry about this huge sexual surplus long enjoyed by on-screen white heroes from William Holden to Pierce Brosnan, whereby they, in the role of a poor American painter or a horny James Bond, can always drag a Chinese woman to bed as freely as they might pick up a cheap banana at a fruit stall. Meanwhile, a humble-looking Chow Yun-fat, as the king of Siam, only gets as much as a long humdrum dialogue in broken English with a contemptuous Jodie Foster (as Anna the English teacher), without the pleasure of even touching her fingertip.

Oh please, no more accusations about anyone having a chip on the shoulder. It’s a simple economic equation. There are visibly more Chinese men now than there were thirty years ago walking haughtily with their arms around the waists of Western girlfriends on the streets of Hong Kong and Beijing. When they do so, judging from the proud look on their faces, you may reasonably guess that they have the blessing of a powerful China with a spectacular sum of US bonds firmly locked into its US$2 trillion foreign reserve. They are the real-life heroes struggling hard to straighten a cinematic sexual balance sheet against Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, who have given away so much.

If Hollywood wants the China market, just give us the double bed with stars like Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston and we’ll sort things out.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home