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Hollywood movies in East Asia: examining cultural discount and performance predictability at the box office

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Abstract:

Cultural differences are likely to affect the extent to which and the ways in which audiences appreciate foreign media products. Not all media products travel across cultural and national boundaries equally successfully. When media contents are highly culturally specific, a high level of relative cultural discount and a loss in cross-culture performance predictability are likely to result. Based on these arguments, this study empirically examines: (1) how US movies of various genres, presumably with content of varying levels of cultural specificity, perform in seven East Asian countries and the world market at large, and (2) whether audiences in East Asia exhibit similar patterns of reception for Hollywood movies of different genres. With a data set of 489 US movies between 2002 and 2006, the analysis shows that there are indeed commonalities both among the East Asian countries and between East Asia and the world at large in terms of how certain movie genres are received at the box office. The theoretical and strategic implications of the findings are discussed.

Keywords: East Asia; Hollywood dominance; box office performance; cross-culture performance predictability; cultural discount

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01292980802021855

Affiliations: Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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