Jackie Chan: The Warcraft Movie's Success In China Scares Americans

The Warcraft movie is a smash hit in China. Action star Jackie Chan has opinions about what that means. [Image: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan]

While speaking at the Shanghai Film Festival, Chan is quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying the China was seen as a "nothing market" by the West for decades. That, however, has changed.

"Warcraft made 600 million RMB [$123.1 million] in two days — this has scared the Americans," said Chan. "If we can make a film that earns 10 billion [$2 billion], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese, instead of us learning English."

Chan also told the largely Chinese crowd that "it is you, not us, who makes China powerful." Continuing, he added, "So, thank you all — we hope the Chinese film industry gets even more powerful."


    Yeah, frankly Hollywood has always considered US Domestic box office to be the 'only money that counts' while utterly ignoring the usually several times larger international figures, because that's got no prestige to it. Opening 'weekends' (funny how often a 'weekend' is five fucking days), and domestic figures. Shit they need to stop caring so much about.

      ^This. So much this. When I hear about how many movies 'flop' in their 'opening weekends' yet you tally up how much they make *world wide*, and then their total runs, you wonder why the movie studios are speaking out their asses???

        a good example is American Sniper... a massive hit in the US but it flopped massivily internationally despite being directed by Clint Eastwood, On the hand there is Pacific Rim which didnt do well in the US but internationally i t did extremely well.

        Also i saw the Warcraft movie today and i had tears of joy at the end. i was completely blown away at how great it was. Obviously being a MASSIVE fan who still plays WoW but started with Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness and then playing Orcs and Humans afterwards, i knew what was going on and knew the characters. But i have to say i honestly can understand the complaints about it being hard to follow, everything i saw seemed to move along a rather decent pace, not to fast nor too slow.

        I do however understand the complaints about the love interests between lothar and Garona, but i also didnt find their acting to be terrible neither did i have any issues with Khadgar, Llane or Mediev. The Gul'dan and Blackhand were a bit hard to understand when they would raze their voices however

          See I'm on the same page there and I haven't played WoW in a decade. But I LOVE Warcraft lore, absolutely love it. Durotans story was streamlined and so was Lothars but hey, I'm ok with that because imho? Durotans was improved. I agree it was hard to follow for someone without a love for the series or without prior knowledge, after all I was sitting there going "OH! I KNOW THAT! I RECOGNISE THAT! LOOK! DRANEI! POLYMORPH! DWARVES! GOLDSHIRE!!!!!" but someone who isn't familiar will have a damn hard time. But to ME? That was the best game movie I've seen in a long time because it *spoke* to me as a gamer, it had *love* for the game built into it. I'm loving it's doing well overseas, over 280 million without Americas help, 28 in America so far, expected to reach 500m or so getting it a sequel hopefully.

      There are good reasons why those things matter to Hollywood though. US$1 in box office domestically is worth more to the studio than US$1 made in Australia, since the Australian distributor will be taking a cut for the that sale. And the opening weekend is important to them because the contracts with cinemas are structured such that the cinema is charged the highest rate during the opening weekend, with the rate decreasing over time.

      So all you're seeing is the studios caring most about profits made from sources that give them the largest slice of the pie. It isn't that foreign money doesn't count, but rather that it isn't worth as much to them personally.

        Yeah, that's great if you're analyzing how to make movie money in 2000-10, but it's also catastrophically out of touch. It's why we're seeing insider articles full of head-scratching about why they're losing the millennials in theatres, and not understanding that the front-loaded income is shifting to a longer and more diverse tail.

          I suspect there is an element of Hollywood accounting going on here. If the film makers get Warner Bros to distribute and bankroll the film in the US, it will probably be distributed by WB Australia over here. WB US probably isn't as invested in getting a good deal from WB AU as the film makers would be if they were negotiating on their own.

          And if you don't control these things, you're just going to focus on the things that make you the most money (which is probably going to be more than you'd make going alone as an independent).

            I know it's easy for armchair critics to dismiss the every day work of people who do this for a living and are trusted not to fuck up multi-million dollar projects... but at the same time, it's definitely possible to give them too much credit when it really is the case that they can't see the forest for the trees.

            I mean... we're talking about an industry whose decision-makers were publicly and broadly surprised by the success of Deadpool. (And who, depressingly, are likely going to incorrectly attribute Deadpool's success to simply 'I guess the market's ready for R-rated superhero movies?' Which - if they do - couldn't miss the point any harder if they tried.)

        True, but I think Hollywood still undervalues international dollars simply because they have it in their head that the US is the only market that really matters. That's not necessarily wrong, I wouldn't fault an Australian production for prioritising Australian audiences, but it's sort of insulting to have them push their movies on the entire world while also being very clear that foreign markets are an afterthought.
        They really want the global money but a country has to be pulling in the numbers China is just to get on their radar. If after adjustments when the dust settles they walk away with $5m from the US box office, $1m from California alone and $2.5m from Mexico, the Spanish speaking audience will continue to be an afterthought but California will be seen a market that has to be pursued at all costs.
        It's very frustrating when they have so much control over what makes it to theatres globally.

    Transformers 4 was a good example of this. We are going to see more US block busters set in China.

      Transformers was also a movie that treated the Chinese with some respect and as heroic.

        Which, while laudable, could probably be done in more subtle ways than having one of the characters mugging for the camera, yelling repeatedly, "HEY, HOW AWESOME IS THIS CHINESE CHARACTER, RIGHT?!"

          I was more points towards the Chinese general's response to the decepticons :P

            True, but I was definitely struck by that. I mean, that's almost verbatim what poor Stanley Tucci ended up babbling repeatedly.

          Too right. I'd be much more happier with increased cast diversity if was something I could tell the film-makers thought up, rather than the marketers.

          That film did more than just having a token Chinese character: it also had a shitload of Chinese product placement. In that sense, the film showed as much respect to the Chinese audience as the US audience.

    It doesn't scare the Americans, they love it. They shovel out a big budget movie that is not exactly glowingly received. Oh no! We're looking down the barrel of financial disaster! Then suddenly the chinese market comes to the rescue and bails out their Titanic-sized disaster, turning it into a reasonable (financial) success.

    Pacific Rim is another good example (although that did get a slightly better critical reception). Didn't go anywhere near breaking even from its US takings, but well over US$100m from the Chinese market saved that one, too.

    “If we can make a film that earns 10 billion [$2 billion], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese, instead of us learning English.”

    "A film"? I think they'd need to start churning out that kind of calibre film on a regular basis before they start having any kind of cultural impact outside of China. So far, I struggle to think of any Chinese movies that have achieved any kind of major mainstream success in the west.... Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is about all I can think of off the top of my head.

    Last edited 16/06/16 5:02 pm

      There have been plenty of critically acclaimed movies (In the Mood for Love, 2046, etc.) made in China, as well as polished action flicks like Detective Dee, so there's no reason why they couldn't succeed internationally. I don't see American (or for that matter, Australian) audiences flocking to see subtitled or dubbed movies, and it'd be an uphill struggle for them to knock off Hollywood; but it's certainly possible in other markets.

    Scared of making money, doubt it. Hollywood will pinch off more movies like this one now.

    I have always been a fan of Jackie Chan as an actor. Eventually knowing that he's actually an outspoken jingoistic Chinese nationalist and communist supporter was very disappointing.

      Because that's where the money is: on the mainland. He knows who butters his bread. I'm still a huge fan of Jackie Chan, but his pandering to the CCP in later years is disappointing.

        The older you get the grumpier you get.
        "Those darn kids on me lawn."
        "Stop being so darn noisy its 4pm damn it!"
        and so on...

      Please don't base your conclusion on the worth of Jackie Chan on some unverified translation that appears on some b-grade website.

      BTW saying he is a communist supporter is saying he supports his government.

    China is on the radar of the film industry. Look at Iron Man 3 and Dr Strange for example. The Mandarin and the Ancient One are whitewashed so as not to offend Chinese audiences and that extra footage of the asian actress was put in IM to pander to them too.

    I also think scared is the wrong word. Enticed? Surprised?

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