President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods could hurt Hollywood’s relationship with one of the fastest-growing film markets in the world, NBC News reports.
If Trump follows through with his threat to hit China with tariffs on $500 billion worth of imports, the retaliation could greatly affect the American film industry.
"The consensus is that this is catastrophic for Hollywood, for its major source of funding and major overseas market," said Rob Cain, a partner at Pacific Bridge Pictures and the founder of ChinaFilmBiz.com.
"Things were already very delicate and fraught. This is like a blind, drunken bull crashing into a China shop," he told NBC.
"The only reason to do that is to spark a retaliation against Hollywood," Cain added.
"Chinese investors are fearful there might be retaliation from the Communist party simply for sending money out of the country for a U.S.-based film."
Chinese customers spent $8.6 billion on movies in 2017, just behind the U.S., where theater-goers spent $11.1 billion that year. Some films, like the recent "Skyscraper," have found enormous success in the Chinese market.
"Prior to the rhetoric, there was hope that restrictions would be loosened," said Paul Sweeney, Bloomberg research director. "Now it’s on the back burner."
Despite this, at least one Hollywood insider, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC that because China already has so much money invested in the film market, including deals to gain U.S. expertise in building cinema screens.
"There is a sense that this too shall pass," the anonymous insider told NBC News. "They are not so interested in short-term moves. China has adopted a lot of Western business practices, but it is still a very old culture. When we do a three-to-five year business plan, they laugh because their long-term plan is 25 years."
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