China has signed one of the most anticipated agreements in film industry, increasing the number of allowed American films in China from 20 to 34 per year.
Chinese authorities removed several restrictions on the distribution of American films in the country. The agreement was reached on Friday by the vice-presidents of the two countries, Joseph Biden, and Xi Jinping during the latter’s visit to the United States. Until now, the number of foreign films allowed to be shown in Chinese cinemas was 20 per year. With the new agreement, the number of films will grow by another 14. However, these 14 films must be the so-called premium format, that is to be filmed in 3D or in Imax format.
WTO has repeatedly criticized the Chinese government for restricting the access of foreign companies in the local film market. The United States said that the current distribution system of film, video and music in China violated the rules of WTO. As a result, Chinese authorities began working with the U.S. over the compromise agreement, which, incidentally, was followed immediately after the announcement of the establishment of DreamWorks’ film studio in China.
China is one of the most promising and fastest growing film market in the world. In 2010, the box office totaled $1.6 billion, and in the past year it has grown to $2.1 billion.