Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 20: Animation industry in China: managed creativity or state discourse?
Globally speaking, animation is one of the fastest growing media content sectors. According to Research and Markets (2015b), the output of the global animation industry reached US$ 222 billion in 2013. Countries with a strong animation production tradition such as the US and Japan have maintained a strong position globally. Major animation markets include the US, Canada, Japan, China, Britain, France, South Korea and Germany. In 2010, Pixar’s Toy Story 3 established a record for the top-grossing animated film, reaping US$ 1.06 billion from its box office worldwide. In 2014, Disney’s Frozen surpassed the record with an international gross of US$ 1.27 billion, becoming not only the highest grossing animated film but also the fifth highest grossing film of all time. Apart from its economic significance, animation is a sophisticated form of creative work. Oscar (Academy Award) recognition dates from 1932 for animated shorts while animated features have been awarded since 2001. The animated films Beauty and the Beast (1993), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010) were nominees for Oscar Best Picture. Animation as a form of entertainment content has increasingly appealed to various audience segments beyond children, including teenagers, adults, and the whole family. Adult animated series like The Simpsons, King of the Hill and South Park, for instance, have become prime time successes.
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