These are very interesting questions that I have been thinking about this myself for a while now. Here are two pictures of 25 most profitable films in the US and China. Reference attached at the end.
1. Hollywood is still strong in China; US citizens disgust foreign films
Out of top 25 films in China, only nine are produced/co-produce by Chinese studios. The rest are of foreign origin, most of which are produced by Hollywood. Titles highlighted in yellow are 12 films popular in both market.
However, if you look at the top ten films, 7 out of 10 are Chinese produced comedies and action movies. There’s no doubt that Chinese prefer domestic films to foreign ones.
Like the Chinese, the Americans (US citizens) prefer domestically produced film (in English language). However, in terms of film choices, they are absolutely more “patriotic” - “to hell with subtitles and dubbings”.
2. The Dangal Anomaly, the sign of receding Hollywood influence in China?
Dangal is the only foreign film not produced by Hollywood that made into top ten. After the opening of Dangal in China, the film absorbed Chinese audience quickly in days. The reputation of the film and it’s producer Aamir Khan skyrocked in China.
The popularity of Dangal reflects the shifting demographics (audience as a whole is becoming more educated) and audience preference. Chinese people have been complaining about the incompetence of home grown studios, as people see most of Chinese film as either stupid or uninteresting. At the same time, they are not so tolerant to bad foreign movies, even those produced by Hollywoods biggest studio. The word “爆米花电影” (literally “Popcorn Movies”) is coined by the same Chinese who despise low quality “fantasy/sifi movies”
3. We love superheros, deadly clowns, cute monsters and all other supernatural beings in the US.
US box offices are swarmed by superhero movies and other fantasy/sifi genre motion pictures. But in China, you can see more variety. Of the seven home produced Chinese films only two can be categorized into fantasy/sifi genre, then you have comedies, action movies and芳华 (Sort of personal memoir of Zhang Yimou).
If Hollywood conglomerates fail to adapt to the changes that are happening in China, they will probably find themselves losing the market and.