The Chinese box office is becoming more and more important as the budgets of movies continue to get bigger and bigger. There is so much money that needs to be made just for a project to break even that it's hard for them to make enough money domestically.
Donnie Yen was recently interviewed by JoBlo and was asked about working on Hong Kong cinema in the eighties and nineties compared to now and how China will surpass North America.
And those resources, with our understanding, from watching and studying American films, adding on the way we've been making films… speaking for myself having been in a couple of American films – well- I mean, when you're talking about American films you're essentially talking about Western filmmaking. How to make a film and what is good about a film. The structure, the finance, the distribution, the marketing.That's the gold standard, that's the bible and I'm still learning. Chinese filmmakers are still learning, but at the same time we have an edge. We've been watching and studying these films. But – vice versa – I don't think enough western filmmakers have spent the time to really analyse the Asian market – that's why you'll notice a lot of American films don't work over here…
It was pointed out that Star Wars, which Yen stared in as Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is one of the series that doesn't work for a Chinese audience. Yen went on to explain why thinks that is.
Yeah, and that's unfortunate. STAR WARS – Chinese audiences didn't grow up with Star Wars culture so unfortunetly it didn't work. Marvel is a lot easier to understand. Star Wars, there's a whole universe out there. Marvel, from the costumes, to the music, to the idols, to the stars, it's much easier to close the gap between the film itself and the audience.
While there is plenty of mythology in the Marvel movies they were made with an eye on international audiences. The Star Wars movies weren't originally designed to appeal to all cultures (that's not to say that they don't but that wasn't the intent). Star Wars has always been much more about the mythology and trying to get invested in that as a new fan can be very intimidating in the same way getting into comics can be intimidating.