More and more Hollywood filmmakers are looking across the Pacific these days, and James Cameron is among them. Walt Disney Co., Relativity Media, and DreamWorks Animation have all announced plans to co-finance and release films in China, and now Cameron has traveled to the country to explore the possibility.
During a five-day visit to Beijing, the Titanic director told Reuters, “We’re all looking very seriously at the possibility of a co-production. The question is, what’s required of us? In terms of configuring the market for the Chinese marketplace, and what economic benefit do we get in return?” He added, “If it works — and I want to definitely stress if — it seems to me it could be very advantageous to the Chinese film community, because for us to do a film like Avatar which is an entirely studio shoot, we wouldn’t be here for the scenery … We’d be bringing in infrastructure to do virtual production, to do 3-D photography and so on, which I would think would be a positive technology exchange into this film-making community.”
However, like other filmmakers, Cameron is concerned about the restrictions the Chinese government would place on Hollywood films. “It all needs to be dealt with upfront. Here’s the script, this is what we’re doing, and if there’s a problem with that then I have to decide creatively if I’m going to accommodate, or if I’m going to pass,” he explained. Currently the government limits the number of foreign films that can be distributed in the country, and bans films which contain content deemed inappropriate. However, Cameron thinks that the Chinese people, who are huge fans of American films, should have the final say in what’s acceptable to see in theaters. “I think that any restrictions that are not strictly market driven are unnecessary,” he said. “I think the Chinese people will vote with their wallets about what it is they want to see.”