Yi Lu

Multiplex Cinemas and China’s Film Industry Renaissance

After decades of reform efforts, China has become the world’s second largest film market and overtaken the United States as the country with the most cinema screens after a construction boom. Multiplexes have been adding screens at the average rate of 30% annually over the past few years. An investigation of the development of China’s film exhibition sector provides the lens through which to examine the Chinese state’s strategies for incorporating Chinese cinema into the global media system, regulating people’s public behaviors, and promoting film consumption. This talk provides an overview of the Chinese state’s deregulation of the film industry, the modernization of film exhibition, and the multiplex boom in the new millennium. By considering the multiplex as a cinematic heterotopia and the state’s support for the multiplex development as a case study of “controlled commodification”, I argue that the multiplex boom was the major driving force fueling the rapid growth of China’s film market and drove the film industry towards a deeper level of marketization and commercialization.