Image credit: Paramount Pictures
Do you think that movies don’t influence us? Think again!
Movies have a massive impact on our choices, moral values, politics, life goals, and even the way we think about God. That is why China and Hollywood are working together to control what movies you watch.
The influence of movies on our lives can be seen with the recent blockbuster, Top Gun. The newest Top Gun movie hit record ticket sales in the US over memorial weekend and the US military could not be happier, because they know the power of movie propaganda. According to the US Navy, the original Top Gun increased their recruitment by a whopping 500%! It is no doubt that they are hoping for the same impact from the most recent release.
When The Hunger Games was released, young girls flocked to archery ranges in numbers that had never been seen before. When Disney’s Frozen hit the theaters, tourism to Norway skyrocketed by 20%. After Finding Nemo was released, Clownfish purchases rose by 40%.
This is why China has been making big moves to control what you watch and, because of the money that can be made, Hollywood is agreeing to submit to China’s rules.
Christians need to be aware of this collaboration.
A shocking 94-page report released by human rights group, Pen America, documents in detail how China and Hollywood are secretly working together to change plots, characters, shooting locations, and the politics of huge Blockbusters to influence how you feel about China.
Consider the Bruce Willis movie, Looper. China routinely bans movies on time-travel, but the film Looper, a movie about time-travel, made a lot of changes to the script in order to flatter the Chinese Communist Party by showing that in the future, China is a strong, powerful, and prosperous nation.
This change might seem to be small, innocent, and subtle, but it was a big win for Chinese Communist propaganda. When Abe, a crime boss from the future tells a young man, “I’m from the future: You should go to China,” the average audience member does not realize that they’ve just been subliminally influenced in a way that increases an authoritarian regime’s influence over their lives.
Looper is just one example of thousands of movies. Avengers, Spider-Man, World War Z and, as unbelievable as it sounds, Captain America, were all tailored for approval from the Chinese politburo. According to Pen America’s report, box office smash hits like Ironman 3 even had Chinese regulators on set to approve the different scenes.
It is not just China and Hollywood that are collaborating to influencing what movie-watchers enjoy. In 2012, a Chinese company purchased AMC Theaters. AMC theaters is the largest movie chain in the world, dictating which movies get exposure and which ones do not. AMC is now public, but China still has the influence.
The tough question however, is not why China would want this influence, but why Hollywood, who vehemently fights with Christian and parent-advocacy groups and aggressively rebuffs any notion of censorship that might regulate their constant promotion of violence, sex, profanity, and abuse, joyfully submit to the China Communist Party’s imposing set of freedom-choking regulations? The answer can be found in one single word – money.
In Hollywood, freedom has a price. The bottom line is the CCP is willing to pay more than Christians to get their way in Hollywood.
In early 2018, China surpassed the United States in theatrical box office revenue for the first time. Movies can now make more money being released in China than the US. In 2019, American films made over $2.6bn in China with Avengers, Spider-Man, and Fast & Furious, making more money there than in the US.
To show how much Hollywood fearfully submits to the profits made in China, when Fast and Furious‘ star John Cena accidentally referred to Taiwan as “a country” during the promotion of the film, he was immediately sent to the cameras to grovel – in Chinese – and beg for forgiveness from the Communist Party.
It’s actually painful to watch.
The good news is, because of the impact of the pandemic and increase of demand for movies on streaming services, it seems that China’s influence on movies might plateau for a moment, but now streaming services are taking a hard look at how they can make a break into the Chinese market. It will be interesting to watch.