Does Your Hollywood Box Office Analysis Kowtow to China?

by Abe Sauer


• “Does ‘Gravity’ Kowtow to Chinese Ticket Buyers?” — Oct. 6, 2013 (Bloomberg)

• “All that kowtowing, and what’s there to show for it?” — Oct. 1, 2013 (Rolling Stone)

• “Movie moguls once collaborated with Nazis. Are they now kowtowing to Chinese Communists?” — July 1, 2013 (National Review)

• “By this rate of Hollywood kowtow…” — June 24, 2013 (Empire)

• “Curiously, there is no moral outrage that Hollywood is kowtowing to a regime with far more serious human rights abuses. At this rate, in ‘Iron Man 4’ Robert Downey Jr. will move his base of operations to the Forbidden City permanently” — May 7, 2013 (Wall Street Journal)

• “Hollywood kowtows to China’s artistic licence” — Apr. 26, 2013; (The Sydney Morning Herald)

• “Other films have kowtowed to the censors…” — April 25, 2013 (The Scotsman)

• “As Chinese directors increasingly look to push the limits of expression set by the government, does Hollywood’s kowtowing undermine their efforts?” — May 5, 2013 (The Hindu)

• “Hollywood is increasingly kowtowing to propaganda officials’ tastes and codes.” — Feb. 26, 2013 (Metro UK)

• “Rolling out the Red Carpet: Why is Hollywood kowtowing to China?” — Feb 22, 2013 (Foreign Policy)

• “Western producers’ willingness to kowtow to Chinese sensitivities is beginning to border on self-censorship.” — Feb. 6, 2013 (Spiegel)

• “Superheroes aren’t meant to kowtow to foreign powers. But when it comes to China….” — Jan. 26, 2013 (The Times)

• “How Hollywood is kowtowing to China” — Nov. 2, 2012 (The Telegraph)

• “Kowtowing to Beijing over stereotypes” — July 25, 2012 (The Australian)

• “Hollywood is — you’ll pardon the expression — kowtowing to the Chinese.” — June 1, 2012 (WNYC On the Media’s Bob Garfield)

• “It is, indeed, the most glaring example of Hollywood films kowtowing to Chinese censorship since the last one.” — May 31, 2012 (A.V. Club)

• “Perhaps they shouldn’t be kowtowing to the Chinese in the first place….” — May 31, 2011 (Business Insider)

• “’Red Dawn’ remake: Is Hollywood ‘kowtowing’ to China?” — Mar. 17, 2011 (The Week)

• “Hollywood’s kowtow: ‘Red Dawn’ dumps Chinese invaders” — Mar. 16, 2011 (Salon)

• “Why Hollywood kowtows to China” — Mar. 11, 2013 (The Guardian)

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of other underused “Chinese” terms that will let your audience know you’re a whipsmart writer when it comes to a crackingly clever cultural turn of phrase. For example, look what the wordsmiths at the New York Post did to put some color in this drab collection on August 4th: “Shanghaied: Hollywood freely collaborated with Hitler and China is next.”

Abe Sauer is the author of How to be: NORTH DAKOTA. He is currently working on a book about Chinese consumers.