This is 10 Questions, a new column in which we ask tech authors to pull back the covers on their recently released books. Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
There are two important things to understand about China’s relationship with Hollywood, according to Erich Schwartzel, author of “Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy” and a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. First, China’s box office was growing at a staggering clip in the decade leading up to the pandemic. Second, the U.S.’s box office was not. “So that means to access the biggest, fastest-growing market in the world,” Schwartzel said, “you have to play by its rules.” That pressure has not only imperiled the fortunes of Hollywood studios, but also weakened America’s cultural hegemony, a process Schwartzel chronicles in his sprawling new book, which ventures from the backlots of Burbank to the inner sanctums of Beijing’s National People’s Congress to the living rooms of a Masai village in Kenya.