I’ve only seen one movie in China: Da Vinci Code in Guangzhou before it was quickly and mysteriously pulled from theaters by the Chinese government. There is one movie theater (two screens for the 4.7 million residents) in the city of Shantou. That works out to be over the average of 2,000 people to every seat that Tim Wu mentions in his Slate.com article, “Copycat.” The article attempts to answer the question of whether China can create its own Hollywood after such stunning successes as Hero and The House of Flying Daggers. The answer: a resounding no because no one can make money domestically producing a film. Piracy hurts the domestic industry too and forces filmakers to go abroad just to break even.
Speaking of piracy, I visited the Wetland Park in Hong Kong yesterday and I saw a introduction movie there about wetlands and biodiversity etc. Just as the show began, a person in front of me whipped out his cellphone and proceeded to record the entire film. What was that person going to do with that? It’s a documentary that only people at the park would want/need to see. If he distributes it, it’s free advertising for the Wetland Park.