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M.A. in Global Communications: White Paper
Hollywood in East Asia: Glocalization, Localization, or Co-productions
Hollywood has made continuous efforts to reach into the East Asian entertainment market, including the use of co-productions, localization strategies such as with casting local actors, and with a glocalized marketing of films. While some Hollywood films such as those from Walt Disney Studios and older film series continue to make significant revenue from the East Asian box offices, recent box office growth in the region has also been partially fueled by 1) a box office market where only a few films are making the majority of the money and 2) a growing and increasingly diverse domestic film presence over films from major Hollywood production houses.
In addition, East Asian entertainment has become increasingly competitive in recent years with an increase in international export; its films and other entertainment products have come to challenge concepts of Hollywood dominance over worldwide entertainment production.6 The transnational and regional nature of the East Asian entertainment market with high transferability of production and human resources has also made it an even more complex area to penetrate in terms of audience preferences and consumption trends.
This paper hopes to provide some insight on the current East Asian film market, the problems Hollywood studios are facing in the market, and ways in which Hollywood could expand audience interest in the region and boost box office and film performance in East Asia.
The paper first will discuss the key theories that surround the current developments of the East Asian regional entertainment market. Following that, an overview of the Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean entertainment markets, with a focus on each country’s film industry will be provided. Thirdly, the paper will examine Hollywood’s successes and failures in the region while giving examples on co-productions, localization strategies, and glocalization efforts. In the fourth section, the paper will briefly highlight the growing importance of streaming and OTT services for the film market, especially in regard to recent developments concerning COVID-19. Finally, this paper will summarize and provide some suggestions on ways to gain a better understanding and foothold of the East Asian film market into the future.
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