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The Effect of Globalisation on Non-Hollywood Cinema


Globalization is considered a modern developing movement that created and significantly changed concepts and trends in the global film industry. The term “globalization” refers to “a process beyond that of internationalization when the systematic relations between countries affect global cultural, economic, and, to a certain extent, the political system or network formation” (Mitkus & Nedzinskaitė-Mitkė, 2016, p. 65). As worldwide flows of global media content are currently increasing, film production becomes the most significant creative industry with multimillion business activity. In recent years the majority of film-released countries experienced the development of national film industries, local motion pictures’ quality improvement, and increasing investments in home film production. Nevertheless, the global film market is predominated by the American film industry, and the theory of “global imperialism” intensifies concerns of western culture’s influence on the audience throughout the world. The purpose of this study is to analyze the condition of the global film market, American dominance in film production, and investigate the globalization impact in non-Hollywood films, exemplified by several relevant motion pictures.

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Global Film Market: American Dominance

A significant number of countries are currently producing media content, which contributes to the global culture’s diversity and the major part of this content is created in Asia. Emerging of massive multiple globalization centers which can compete with the American film market justifies that in recent years globalization cannot be described as having “a distinctly American face” (Crane, 2014, p. 2). Though despite the progress in cultural diversification extension in the global film market, the United States remains the most significant player in the international media field. According to the World Box Office, the first twenty positions in the list are annually occupied by American films and co-productions (Crane, 2014).

There are three factors that explain the dominance of American media culture (Crane, 2014). The first one is a highly effective system of distribution that provides the prevalence of American films in the home market and abroad. A combination of talent resources with financial capabilities to produce high-rated films plays a significant role in leadership establishment. Besides, the advantage of the American media industry to offer its content to other nations at a lower price than domestic production contributes to American cultural expansion as well. American production system consists of two levels – the first one produces highly expensive blockbusters for a global release and large-scale box office sales. There are several conglomerates in the American film industry that occupy the production of premium quality content. Another level of production is occupied with low-budget films predominantly for the home market with remote chances to be released abroad.

The United States currently holds a record as the country with the highest cost of films among other nations. The average cost of cinema production by paramount film-making companies reaches $100 million with approximately $23 million per film (Crane, 2014). In comparison, the British cinema industry spends $13 million per film, the average cost of French or Egyptian cinema is no more than $5 million (Crane, 2014). The highest cost of American blockbusters is defined by not only the production process and high-quality special effects appliance but talents’ compensations and advertising campaign as well.

One-third of an American motion picture’s budget is dedicated to excessive promotion and global advertising as frequent cinema production on the territory of other countries with low-level wages allows America to economize filming (Crane, 2014). The United States’ media distributional system consists of a regional offices network, effective publicity campaigns, a saturation of film market, and simultaneous film exhibition in theatres all over the world. Another reason for the American media market’s success is the extension and global influence of American culture. In the case of competition between national cultural policies, American policy, supported by the government, commonly overcome its opponents. Without these advantages, the American film industry and its production would be less prosperous than it currently is.

Classification of Film Industries Worldwide

According to local box offices, almost all cinema-producing countries, represented in the global film market, have American film predominance (Crane, 2014). These motion pictures frequently occupy the first ten places in the top charts. Other positions belong to local films, their representation is influenced by the level of investment to production and foreign films’ import limitation governed by the national cultural policy. According to statistics, provided by the European Audiovisual Observatory, after comparing film policies and industries all “66 countries, which participate in the global film market” can be divided into four main groups (Crane, 2014). This division is defined by the number of annually produced films and the extension of local films in the national media market. The presented figures demonstrate the stratification of the global film market.

The first category of countries can be called “super producers.” It consists of four countries (India, USA, China, and Japan), represented internationally, their total number of produced films reaches 400 pictures (Crane, 2014). The distinctive quality of super producers consists of a predominance of local films in their national markets – around 75% of the total number of released motion pictures (Crane, 2014). The participation of these countries in global film production and distribution is varying, for instance, India is an annual leader in the number of produced films that receive the highest share of the local film market (Dastidar & Elliott, 2019). Indian film’s worldwide distribution is insignificant, compared with the USA’s dominance, though the number of co-productions and globally released films is currently increasing. This country currently installed a highly effective production system with “dominant understandings of professional organization and discipline” (Miller, 2015, p. 31). China and Japan produce local high-budget blockbusters with hi-tech visual effects, famous actors, and a massive advertising campaign. Even though the distribution of Chinese and Japanese cinema in the global market is unsubstantial, they occupy local markets, as the audience prefers national films rather than foreign ones (Crane, 2014).

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The second category prevalently consists of European countries (France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany), Argentina, and South Korea. These countries are major producers with more than 100 produced films per year and their local market share is approximately 27% (Crane, 2014). According to studies, most films of major producers are European and they are occasionally released outside their original countries, although co-productions with the USA frequently penetrate the global film market.

Other countries are related to medium and minor producers, their total number of released films is between 26 and 100 motion pictures per year, and the average local market share does not surpass 26% (Crane, 2014). The exception in market share belongs to Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. Being a totalitarian country, Iran blocks external cinema imports, and its market share of the local film is absolute. Turkey has 50% of nationally released films in the local market as the production demand from the national cultural policy has increased (Crane, 2014). Egypt has a highly organized cinema industry compared with other countries on the continent. An extensive network of production studios and distribution offices allows Egypt to possess 80% of local films in the national film market and distribute its pictures in other Arabic-spoken countries (Crane, 2014).

Globalization Patterns, Detected in Non-Hollywood Films

The majority of scholars examine globalization in the cinema industry as the creation of a global film market with various levels of penetration for film-producing countries and the dominance of American media content. The particular features of the globalization effect can be observed in various motion pictures through the investigation of their works. In the first instance, it is American influence on non-Hollywood films. Standard plot devices, stereotyped phrases, and scenes, typical for American films, can be currently noticed in foreign motion pictures. The second feature is connected with the presence of ideas and perform activities that became globally common for films, regardless of their origin. In addition, filmmakers from various countries include elements, antithetical to their national culture, to attract foreign audiences and support film’s penetration in the global market. These patterns of globalization can be distinguished in the following motion pictures and support their global release.

“The Good, the Bad, the Weird” (2008) is a South Korean action film, directed by Kim Jee-Woon, it describes the adventures of a bandit (The Bad), a thief (The Weird), and a bounty hunter (The Good) in Manchuria during the Second World War. Every character pursues his personal goal; the Good should recapture the Bad for reward, while the Bad needs to receive a secret map, stolen by the Weird. According to the storyline, these three personages gather and have a massive battle with the Imperial Japanese Army for the map, which supposedly leads to Imperial gold; they survive to discover the absence of treasure. This film obtains all features of globalization; it has a massive influence on the US media culture as it can be recognized as a western, traditionally American genre of art. In all scenes of gunfights there are reminiscences of not only films, dedicated to Old West life, but American and Italian co-production “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (1966) by Sergio Leone. In addition, the storyline contains a traditional worldwide pattern of the main characters’ invincibility in severe battles.

“The Host” (2006) is another South Korean film depicting a hideous aggressive monster, created by chemicals, dumped in a river. The global concept of a dangerous creature, created by humans, persecuted by all governmental military forces, and conclusively destroyed by the main character provides a globalization impact on this film. The scene of the kidnapping of the main character’s daughter by the monster and keeping her alive hereafter reminds the scene from the Hollywood film “King Kong” (2005). Besides, the presence of foreigners (American military) in a storyline is supposed to increase the audience’s interest abroad. Production costs and expectations of the film’s worldwide acceptance were compensated as “The Host” was efficiently released in the home market and it penetrated Asian, European, American, and Latin American national film markets (Boxman Office Mojo, 2019).

Another motion picture for investigation is a co-production of Spain and Argentina “El Angel” (2018), directed by Luis Ortega. It describes the life of Carlos Robledo Puch, a notorious serial killer; sentenced to life imprisonment, he has already spent the most sustainable prison term in the history of Argentina. Despite the fact that this motion picture is based on real-life events, the pleasant appearance and romantic relationships of the main character support the increasing global trend of serial killers’ romanticization. This concept, derived from the USA film industry, can be traced in Hollywood films “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” (2019).

The last investigated film is the horror “The Golem” (2018), released by Israel; the main character Hanna performs a religious ritual to invoke a golem, a mythic monster, for her community’s protection against evidence-free accusations. Although, the creature contains a threat for people and starts homicide. This film embraces the previously described global concept of created monster, decimated exceptionally by a protagonist. Another currently prevailing idea can be traced in the scene when a priest persuades Hanna’s husband to divorce her as she cannot be regarded as a valuable woman if she cannot give birth to a child. The husband refuses to leave his wife, although it was not a common decision for the 17th century when the storyline was developed. This episode characterizes the modern tendency to embrace women’s rights and decrease gender discrimination. Besides, the locality in which the action proceeds is transferred to Lithuania for a foreign audience’s attraction to the film.

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Globalization has a significant influence on film production and distribution in every national film market. The creation of the global media field, American dominance in the creative industry, and different opportunities to access the global film market impose film-producing countries to undertake transformations for effective competition in the global market. National markets are obliged to undertake economic reforms in the cinema industry to produce high-quality films, capable of penetrating the international market. Innovations can be traced in films’ storylines as well – employment of stereotyped expressions and standard development of the action, borrowed from American film culture, exploitation of globally common ideas, and insertion of foreign culture’s elements.

Reference List

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  4. Dastidar, S & Elliott, C 2019, ‘The Indian film industry in a changing international market’, Journal of Cultural Economics, pp. 1-5. doi:10.1007/s10824-019-09351-6.
  5. El angel 2018, online video,, Web.
  6. Miller, J 2015, ‘The world and Bollywood: an examination of the globalisation paradigm’, Anthós, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 27-41. doi:10.15760/anthos.2015.27.
  7. Mitkus, T & Nedzinskaitė-Mitkė, V 2016, ‘The impact of globalisation to creative industries: the analysis of film industries of Central and Eastern Europe’, Creativity Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 64-74. doi:10.3846/23450479.2015.1126539.
  8. The golem 2018, online video, Gomovies.
  9. The Good, the Bad, the Weird 2008, online video, GOmovies.
  10. The host 2006, online video, GOmovies.

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