Asia Minute: Red Flag on China’s Movie Market?

Jul 23, 2019

Summer is a popular season for blockbuster movies and for promotion of upcoming attractions. The sequel to the movie Top Gun won’t be out for nearly a year, but it’s already sparking some controversy in parts of Asia.

When Tom Cruise lit up the skies in the movie “Top Gun” in 1986, his flight jacket had some distinctive patches, but the trailer for the sequel shows they’ll be different now.

Both movies have an American flag — in the old version there’s also a Taiwan flag and a Japan flag.

Neither made the sequel.

As it happens, one of the financial backers of the sequel is the Chinese company Tencent Pictures. Tencent is also part owner of the production company producing the film with Paramount Studios.

Neither company had an immediate comment.

Factors beyond financing have also changed over the decades. China is now the world’s number two movie market, second only to the United States, and producers hoping for a big box office there are careful not to offend Chinese audiences.

Those audiences have delivered mixed results at the box office so far this year.

Overall ticket sales are off slightly compared to last year, according to figures tracked by Artisan Gateway. But for Hollywood movies, revenue is up by 14.5% to nearly 2-billion dollars.

The Hollywood Reporter says trade politics may complicate American movie releases in the second half of the year. But for now, China’s top-grossing movie of the year is an American export.

Disney’s “Avengers: Endgame” has brought in more than 614 million dollars in China . . . starting with an opening day record back in April.