Southeast Asia Starting to Loosen Hollywood’s Hold on Its Home Turf
Local cinema in Southeast Asia last year was a typical showcase year for the region. Avatar dominated, both for the year and all-time, demonstrating once again the strength of Hollywood product in those markets.
However, the year also continued to show that while domestic audiences may still choose Hollywood fare, local filmmakers are creating compelling films that can make an impression on the international stage.
Hollywood’s domination of Southeast Asian box office is increasingly facing competition, but not from local film industries. The region’s two major cultural powers — China and India, each of which have large expatriate populations in many Southeast Asian countries — are appealing to cinemagoers in those countries.
That’s primarily bad news for local film sectors that struggle to create a following in their own country or language. Ironically, it is overseas that Southeast Asian directors are finding acclaim, and Cannes has been one of the best platforms for them.