Wu Jing, the director and star of Chinese smash hit “Wolf Warrior II,” has been pressing the flesh around Los Angeles in recent months to build buzz for the film ahead of this year’s Oscars, whose nominees will be unveiled Tuesday. While “Wolf Warrior II” is unlikely to score a nomination, it’s arguably the most important film of 2017. And its record-setting haul could be a bad omen for Hollywood in an increasingly important market.
Hollywood blockbusters were once unstoppable forces in China, driving growth in total theater box office revenue from $455 million to $8.6 billion over the last decade. But U.S.-made films have lost some of their luster with Chinese moviegoers: Hollywood's share of Chinese box office receipts has fallen to 40% from more than 50% in recent years. That is dimming what has been one of the few bright spots for the U.S. film industry in the past few years, as domestic film attendance and revenue from DVDs have both been in decline.