DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke at the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China on Friday. He did not refer to last week’s move by the Chinese authorities to pull The Croods from release ahead of schedule, but he did address the differences between handling “rules, regulations, and traditions” in China versus in Hollywood. Here are his remarks on DreamWorks Animation’s history, and future, in the booming market:
Timing, we all know the importance of this. In fact, when the timing is right, anything and everything is possible. Today in China the timing is right. We’ve arrived at a unique moment in this country, and you might say it’s actually been 5,000 years in the making. For ages, China has been known for its Great Wall. Now it might be better symbolized by a portal of opportunity that has begun to swing open.
But as with everything else here, this portal is distinctly Chinese in its appearance, its intricacy and its functionality. At DreamWorks Animation, we are becoming something of a case study for how things and timing is so important when it comes to China. It all started a few years (ago) when two seemingly completely unrelated events were taking place at opposite ends of the planet.
In Beijing, the country’s leadership was recognizing the importance of soft power. Meanwhile in Hollywood, DreamWorks was given the green light to a movie called Kung Fu Panda. I would love to tell you that we did this as part of a very shrewd strategy to gain entrée into China. It wasn’t. We just liked the idea of a film about a panda who wants to do kung fu. (more…)