Hollywood has a growing China problem—but it won’t admit it

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After years of being awash in Chinese cash, the entertainment industry’s business with China has become more fraught. Is there a way out of this mess? Chris Fenton has been getting a lot of calls and emails lately from people in the entertainment industry. Fenton, after all, is a former talent agent and film executive turned Chinese film industry expert who wrote the new book Feeding the Dragon: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA and American Business , so he knows a thing or two about Sino-Hollywood relations. Read Full Story

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Bond is sidelined, Mulan’s on the fence: How COVID-19 coronavirus is upending entertainment

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Here’s the state of play as the pandemic starts to spread in the United States. The world’s top analysts have predicted that the global film industry faces a $5 billion loss due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). China’s entertainment industry was the first to come to a halt in January amid the fallout, with over 70,000 movie theaters (plus the Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland theme parks) temporarily shut down. In Korea, which has also been hard hit and is the fifth-largest box office in the world, local films such as Call and Innocence have been delayed amid low attendance and fewer screenings, so that theater teams can sanitize auditoriums. Read Full Story

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Coronavirus hits iPhone sales harder than expected in China

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Chinese government figures say Apple sold less than 500,000 iPhones in China during February. Apple has been thinking about and preparing for the effects of the novel coronavirus on its business for months now. The company has done what it could to keep manufacturing on track, but one thing it can’t control is Chinese consumers’ appetite for new iPhones when they’re either sick from or worried about COVID-19. Read Full Story

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The Black-owned animation studio behind ‘Hair Love’ is teaching Hollywood how to be authentic

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Lion Forge Animation had the breakout animation hit of the year, and now it’s on a global quest to tell stories that haven’t traditionally been told. Earlier this year, a heartfelt short film about an African American father who has to endure the (arduous and terrifying) task of doing his young daughter’s hair for the first time captured the entertainment industry’s attention by taking home an Oscar. The film, created and directed by Matthew A. Cherry , had originated as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017, where it raised $300,000—its goal was $75,000—and then was brought to the attention of Lion Forge Animation, which came on board as a producer. Read Full Story

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‘Trolls World Tour’ straight-to-digital release proves films bypassing cinemas can still bring in the big bucks

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‘Trolls’ is reported to have taken in more than ‘Avengers Endgame’s’ first-week video-on-demand rental haul of $30 million. One of the myriad industries the COVID-19 pandemic has upended has been the film industry. Ever since lockdowns have been imposed and theaters shut, Hollywood has been scrambling to work out what to do with films that were slated to hit theaters in the next few months. Read Full Story

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Innovative filmmakers are now creating shorts and series shot entirely in quarantine

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‘At Home’ from HBO Europe and ‘The Agoraphobics Detective Society’ signal a shift in major studios and producers investing in series filmed in confinement. Like so many industries worldwide, film and TV have been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sweeping self-isolation mandates have shuttered productions and postponed theatrical releases. Amid the projected $20 billion in losses, Hollywood has been trying to figure out how the show will go on in the immediate future. Read Full Story

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Why is TikTok getting banned? Here’s the latest update as the U.S. mulls app shutdown

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Geopolitics has a massive role to play. Both India and the U.S. have incentives to stick it to China any way they can right now–including Chinese owned businesses. It hasn’t been a good few weeks for TikTok, the Chinese-owned app that has been the world’s hottest social media platform for the past few years. It currently has over 2 billion users. Despite its mass appeal, the app is coming under increasing scrutiny from powerful governments–which could spell disaster for TikTok’s future. Read Full Story

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How Scott Budnick is creating an impact-first entertainment company

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At One Community, social impact campaigns are built from the ground up alongside films and TV shows. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, Scott Budnick was concerned for more than just the health of himself and his family. The Hollywood producer turned social justice activist was worried about all the men and women in prison, whom he’s worked with over the years both on a personal and professional level. Read Full Story

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The strange story of the Southern town that Hollywood insiders are building from scratch

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Trilith is a 235-acre town built within a massive film and TV production facility just outside of Atlanta. When the British film studio company Pinewood opened a production facility outside Atlanta in 2014, it framed the venture as a one-stop-shop alternative to the mature but spatially fragmented system in Hollywood. With a high-tech media center, soundstages, offices, prop houses, and set builders all colocated, Pinewood Atlanta was a turnkey space for filming. An early relationship with Marvel Studios led to a steady stream of big-budget superhero movies such as Ant Man and Captain America: Civil War , and Pinewood Atlanta quickly became a contender in the film business. Read Full Story

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