The Hao and Bu Hao of Chinese Entertainment in 2016

By Andrew Chin, December 30, 2016

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201612/thats-year-review-logo-mini.pngFor many in the West, 2016 will be remembered for Trump, Brexit, terrorism in Europe and an absurd number of pop culture deaths, from Bowie to Muhammad Ali. By comparison, China had an unusually quiet year. Nonetheless, there were still a few goings-on in the world's most populous country. 

In our 2016 Year in Review series, we recap the best (and worst) of China's year in the worlds of technology, social media, sport, fashion, food, arts and more.


A look back at the Hao and Bu Hao of China's arts and entertainment scene in 2016...

Hao: Amusement Park Gold Rush

Amusement Park Gold Rush

After years of anticipation, Shanghai Disney finally opened its doors in June. Local and international players — including Wanda, Universal and Six Flags — are also rushing in to claim their stake in the burgeoning Chinese amusement park pie – one that industry analysts AECOM predicts will overtake the United States for attendance by 2020. 

Bu Hao: #WangBaoQiangDivorce

Wang Baoqiang Divorces Wife After Scandalous Affair
Actor Wang Baoqiang broke the internet by posting plans to divorce his wife on Weibo. The Lost in Thailand star accused wife Ma Rong of adultery, “destroying the family,” and hiding and transferring property. The plot thickened when Ma filed a defamation case against him. According to Weibo, 97 percent of netizens were Team Wang.

Hao: China poised to become world's biggest film market

Movie projector
Analysts predict that China will overtake the US next year to become the world's biggest film market thanks to an increased foreign film quota and a number of anticipated 2017 blockbusters.

Bu Hao: Slumping ticket sales

Slumping Movie theater ticket sales empty theater
Nonetheless, 2016 wasn't actually a good year for movie theaters. Sales slumped due to the rise of streaming, disappointing domestic films and a crackdown on box office fraud.

Hao: Hugo Award for Hao Jingfang

Hao Jingfang Hugo Award
There was more success for China at the Hugo Awards, the world's preeminent sci-fi literature accolades, when Hao Jingfang won Best Novelette for her father-daughter tale Folding Beijing.

Bu Hao: The Three Body Problem film adaptation delayed

Three Body Problem
The film adaptation of The Three Body Problem was expected to be one of the year's biggest releases. But production troubles have led to long delays, diminishing the anticipation somewhat.

Hao: Matt Damon helps Jason Bourne top Chinese box office

Matt Damon helps Jason Bourne top Chinese box office
The American star charmed New York Comic Con ahead of Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall, which may have helped his other film, Jason Bourne, top China's box office in its opening weekend.

Bu Hao: Matt Damon, The Great Wall and 'white washing'

Matt Damon The Great Wall
Damon's casting in The Great Wall was blasted by netizens and industry figures as 'white washing,' while a shoddy 3D conversion of Jason Bourne left Chinese audiences dizzy, sick and furious.


Smack Talker of the Year

Wang Jianlin

Wang Jianlin

China’s richest manwas less than impressed with the highly anticipated opening of Shanghai Disneyland earlier this year. Despite being spotted there in October on a mission to “inspect and learn,”Wanda Dalian boss Wang Jianlintalked plenty of smack about Mickey and Co. in an interview with CCTV:

“Disney shouldn’t have entered the Chinese mainland. We have a strategy – one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves”

He then boasted about his company’s plans to open 15-20 Wanda theme parks across China.


For more 2016 Year in Review coverage, click here.

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