US Delegation to Renegotiate China Film Quota in August

The current agreement, allowing 34 revenue-sharing imports per year, expired in February. 

Updated, May 24, 2017 9pm CST. An American government delegation will travel to Beijing in August to try to convince officials in China to allow more foreign films — especially Hollywood films — to be imported under revenue-sharing terms.

“The US-Asia Institute (USAI) will organize a delegation of Members of the U.S. Congress focused on the entertainment and media industry in August 2017. Pre-approved by the U.S. Department of State under the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act (MECEA), USAI has been organizing these delegations to China since 1985.  US-Asia Institute Trustees Chris Fenton and Tom Ara (Partner, Greenberg Traurig) will facilitate and accompany the delegation, which is targeted for August 18 to August 26 with meetings in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou,” Chris Fenton, president of DMG Entertainment and a trustee of the US-Asia Institute, which is organizing the delegation, told China Film Insider by email.

“The schedule will include a balance of government, industry-focused meetings, and cultural stops. Among the anticipated meetings will be the American Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National People’s Congress, and others. Industry-focused stops are currently being considered since requests are too numerous to fit in the schedule,” Fenton said.

A group of about 12 Congresspeople and Senators will represent the US, although no names were attached. Those names may not be disclosed, the statement said.

China allows a total of 34 films per year to be exhibited in its cinemas on a revenue-sharing basis, with the foreign side usually receiving about 36 percent of local box office take. Despite the minority share, the success of numerous titles that were not blockbusters in North America, make getting a slice of the world’s second-largest cinema increasingly important to Hollywood studios’ bottom line. While Hollywood films get the lion’s share of import slots, the recent success of films from India and Japan could see their individual quotas boosted.

Films may also be sold on a flat-fee basis, for cinematic, online, or television release, but those fees are generally lower than the box office take of a successful revenue share. All films must pass China’s censors, who may request cuts or other changes before being granted a release permit.