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A taste of home: Emotional transnationalism and China Lion Film Distribution in the United States

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Between 2010 and 2015, China Lion Film Distribution released 55 Chinese-language films in North America on the same day as the films were released in the People’s Republic of China. In 2014, China Lion hit its stride, with a string of seven films that each grossed more than US$100,000 in limited release in North America. By marketing Chinese-language films in the United States to Chinese transmigrant communities rather than to mainstream US audiences, China Lion takes advantage of the emotional transnationalism of Chinese Americans, bringing them a recognizable taste of ‘Home’ in their new place of residence. This article looks at the ways in which China Lion’s recent releases in US multiplexes differ from past attempts to bring Chinese and Hong Kong cinema to North America. China Lion’s success reflects China’s rapidly expanding film industry and the growing relationship between China, Hollywood and the global film market at large, and also reflects the changing demographics of the twenty-first-century Chinese American community.
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Keywords: China Lion Film Distribution; China/US film co-production; Chinese American; Chinese film; emotional transnationalism; film distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: San Francisco State University

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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