Movies, China, and 14 Year-Olds - Caleb Jones

I saw a video recently where a professional actor was talking to a group of press and Hollywood industry folks. He said something very interesting that explains a lot of what I’ve been talking about in terms of Western pop culture in general and movies in particular.

He said that in terms of a business model, the Hollywood industry makes movies mostly for two demographics: 14 year-olds and China.

If you think about it, it explains pretty much everything.

If you make a movie that appeals to 14 year-olds and China, you can’t go wrong. You can spend millions and get a huge profit on it.

Making movies for 14 year-olds means you’ll appeal not only to 14 year-olds, but to most teenagers and little kids. This also means that a good deal of adults will go see the movie too, unlike if you make a movie for six year-olds. These adults may not love the movie as much as the 14-year-olds but they will go, meaning they will buy the ticket.

China, as I’ve shown on this blog many times, is rapidly becoming the largest market in the world. On top of that, China’s pop culture is based around the theater where overacting and crazy stuff is the norm. This is why you see lots of overacting and corniness in Chinese pop culture you don’t see in Western culture.

This means you can make a really stupid movie that looks really good and has bad acting, a horrible plot, and a script that makes no sense, and the Chinese will love it and send millions of dollars to Hollywood to see it. And this market will continue to grow.

This explains why the Transformers and Fast and Furious movies make billions of dollars and do so damn well despite “normal” people and critics hating them. 14 year-olds and China love them, so Hollywood will make more of them.

It’s the same reason why they can make these utterly dreadful Star Wars movies that make absolutely no sense, yet they still make a billion dollars every time. 14 year-olds and China love them, so it doesn’t matter. And before you say it, that Han Solo movie was an exception to this, since no one wanted to see a Han Solo movie without Harrison Ford. The Rise of Skywalker movie in December will suck, and it will make a billion dollars again. Just watch. 14 year-olds and China will love it.

This is also the reason why you see the movie theaters flooded with all these cheap-ass horror movies. Who goes to see horror movies? 14 year-old girls. So Hollywood can shit out a cheap, crappy horror movie full of stupid jump scares for about $6 million and make a huge profit from the teenage girls who don’t care that it’s bad. It’s a smart business model.

I’ve talked before about how there are no mid-budget movies anymore like in the movie heyday of the 1980s. Everything is either a gigantic, Avengers-level blockbuster or a really low-budget cheapy like these horror movies. There’s nothing much in between. Why? Because 14 year-olds and China like low budget and giant budget. Mid-budget movies would be for people like you and me, non-Chinese adults. But Hollywood doesn’t give a shit about you and me. We’re not a safe enough profit center for them.

That doesn’t mean that all material made for 14 year-olds and China is bad. The Marvel movies are fantastic to a level of consistent excellence we’ve never seen before in a long-running franchise. Avengers Infinity War was incredible and Avengers Endgame was just as good despite being a very different kind of movie.

But, if you pay close attention, the model is still the same: 14 year-olds and China. 14 year-olds and China love big, exciting, explosive movies about superheroes. The fact the Marvel movies are actually good is an exception to the rule. Look at the dreadful DC movies from the past few years to see what I mean (thought I admit Aquaman was pretty fun). Unlike every other franchise, the Marvel movies just happen to be headed by people like Kevin Feige who love the source material, as opposed to the people in charge of Star Wars and Star Trek who hate the source material… but all of them are targeted towards 14 year-olds and China as key demographics.

Do exceptions exist? Sure, but mostly these are non-movie properties. Game of Thrones is certainly not made for 14 year-olds or China and it’s done just fine, but Game of Thrones was adapted from novels by two guys who, again, loved the source material. That’s pretty rare these days.

Even Game of Thrones couldn’t survive as a thing of quality forever. Those same two guys who adapted George R.R. Martin’s books so well were dreadful at writing their own stuff once they ran out of the source material. Seasons 1-5 were good, even better than the books, which I had to stop reading because the plot went nowhere. But season 7 was completely ridiculous and season 8 was so dreadful that I seriously couldn’t believe what I was watching.

I don’t see a solution to this 14 year-olds and China thing, other than the technological answer I talked about before. Yet, my goal here is to help you exploit the problems of the world for your personal gain rather than just complain about them, so here’s my advice (some of which I’m following myself):

1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: China is the world’s long-term future. The entire Western world is slowly collapsing as China and much of the East is slowly rising. Yes, China has a lot of problems on its hands right now, with more to come. It’s becoming stupidly authoritarian, it’s facing a massive real estate collapse, it’s in for a massive demographic problem due to the one child policy, and so on.

But none of that matters in the long-term. During its rise, America faced recessions, full-on depressions, civil wars, assassinations, mass violence, and yet it still eventually came to rule the world despite all of these problems. China will do the same, eventually.

This means you should start thinking about how you can take advantage of this growing market. The Chinese consumer is excited, aggressive, and motivated. What can you sell to the Chinese? What industries are going to do well during China’s rise? Or China’s problems? How can you take advantage of the new Silk Road?

Really think about this stuff. Millionaires and even billionaires are going to be made over the next few decades from those Westerners who figure out what the Chinese want and give it to them.

If you’re curious about what my plans are, I’m going to expand my tech marketing company into Hong Kong, and then later to China. I may even consider a franchise model. I also have an entire Alpha Male 2.0 For The Chinese Man product line outlined in great detail, though I will need some Chinese Alphas living in China to help me complete it.

2. In terms of those 14 year-olds, current Western society worships their children in ways we never have before. Helicopter parents are now the norm. Kids’ birthdays used to cost about $3 for a cake, but are now hundreds of dollars because you have to take all the little kiddies out to some kind of giant event-area with play structures, prizes, pizza, and so on. Parents actively fight teachers when kids get bad grades. And so on.

Is it all silly? Yup, but that’s not the point. How can you exploit this? What kinds of expensive and/or high-margin products can you now sell to kids or young teenagers (or more specifically, to their parents) that 20 years ago would never be imagined? For Christ’s sake, there are friggin’ ten year-olds walking around with $700 iPhones these days. If mom and dad (or more accurately, single mom) are going to shell out that kind of money for their perfect little angel, certainly you could be one of those making a pretty penny on these sales.

If I were to start a fourth company (and I’m not), I would seriously consider some kind of high-end toy company or consumer electronics products targeted towards middle-class 12 year-old boys. If Hollywood can make millions on this market, why can’t I?

More importantly, why can’t you?

13 Comments on “Movies, China, and 14 Year-Olds

  1. right on target.

    I was hanging out with my nephews today and they loved watching skits of this husband and wife and other animations of minecraft on youtube…we had it on the tv and they had ads in the middle of it like it could of been a tv commercial.

    had me thinkin.

    more thinkin to be done. thanks for another uncannily timed post.

  2. Aquaman? Fun? What exactly makes you “admit” it was fun? Apart from the fight scene at the beginning, the rest of the movie was pretty poor.

  3. If one of the main markets is China then it does not explain why is there so much left wing garbage in the movies nowadays – as I can see China is quite the opposite of left wing nowadays.

  4. I live pretty much near the South Coast Plaza mall, Costa Mesa in California. The entire mall is now overrun with Asian people always buying tons and tons of expensive shit (Louis Vuitton, Coach, Chanel, Tiffanys, etc). A lot of my friends growing up were Asian, and I used to wonder how the fuck their parents could afford to give their kids super expensive cars, pay for their entire tuitions, give them tons of expensive toys (latest PlayStation, brand new computer rig), clothes, shoes and gifts to play with — if you’ve ever been to Rowland Heights, Diamond Jamboree (or Diamond Plaza in Irvine), the place is littered with BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, Teslas; all driven by young kids who look like they’ve never worked a day in their life and yet look like they belong to royalty.

    I think it’s a cultural thing; it’s gotta be– I’ve never seen any other culture so obsessed with brand whoring and superficiality. For a long time I was also caught up in the madness, I kept thinking I had to buy brand new Nikes, have expensive haircuts, wear cool clothes, buy brand labels just to keep up with my friends. Then I realized it was all bullshit. All the money I made was just going into corporate fat cats’ wallets; not at all to my own savings account. At least now thanks to your blog, products I’ve awakened out of my retarded slumber and am taking massive action to keep my money growing for myself.

    Still, these corporate brands have got it all figured out; the more they can keep people obsessed with America the GREAT, THE BOLD, THE EXPENSIVE; the more money they can make. So yes, that is why everything sucks now; it’s all about constantly brainwashing people we need bigger, badder, bolder, fatter, newer, blah blah blah. You might have the new Apple Watch 4, but I just got Apple Watch 5 LOL — now you are less cooler than me! Yet the real person laughing in the background is Tim Cook of Apple watching idiots waste their generational wealth to keep up with the Joneses, or should I say the Yangs?

  5. The Chinese consumer is excited, aggressive, and motivated.

    I would say the Chinese consumer is just like any other. The only thing that matters is there’s a billion of them.

  6. Aquaman? Fun? What exactly makes you “admit” it was fun? Apart from the fight scene at the beginning, the rest of the movie was pretty poor.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t poor. It was poor. I said it was fun. A movie can be poor and fun at the same time (Phantom Menace, as just one example).

    If one of the main markets is China then it does not explain why is there so much left wing garbage in the movies nowadays

    I’m talking about big, stupid blockbusters and cheap horror movies. What kind of left-wing messaging do you really see in a Transformers movie or Fast and Furious movie? Not much (beyond some little trickles that most Chinese wouldn’t even notice).

    I would say the Chinese consumer is just like any other.

    Incorrect. The the typical urban Chinese consumer is quite different than, for example, the typical European consumer.

  7. Western society worships children in ways we never have before. Helicopter parents are now the norm. Kids’ birthdays used to cost about $3 for a cake, but are now hundreds of dollars because you have to take all the little kiddies out to some kind of giant event-area with play structures, prizes, pizza, and so on. Parents actively fight teachers when kids get bad grades. And so on.

    I was considering going back to school and getting a social work degree because of this, since when those kids grow up they will need ALL KINDS of counseling lol.

    It’s kind of why I started my “underground counseling” business, but I don’t know how profitable that could be. Might be dangerous too. I had helicopter parents and I totally failed at life until recently because of it. Most of my buddies had helicopter parents too and are just as meh when it comes to success. It isn’t right. But I’m trying to make it right.

  8. Incorrect. The the typical urban Chinese consumer is quite different than, for example, the typical European consumer.

    One man might prefer boobs while another prefers ass, but the core principles stay the same.

  9. Actually Star Wars isn’t popular in China, as the original films never screened in cinemas there, so the Chinese public don’t go for them much. The Star Wars prequels and episodes 7 & 8 did poorly there. Episode 8 actually flopped in China, which is good, as it was a piece of shit movie. US horror films aren’t permitted to be shown in China.

    I agree, to introduce the Alpha 2.0 philosophy into China, you’d need the help of some Chinese and/or Chinese American dating coaches if you can find any, to help re-adapt The Unchained Man book for the Chinese culture and market (both for Chinese males who want to live in China and also ones who hate living there and want to emigrate to an English speaking Western country, as they want to fuck Western women), as the current version is probably too Western. It’s a lot easier for a Chinese guy to emigrate to the US, Canada, or Australia, if he can prove he’s a multimillionaire who’ll start a business that’ll employ North American, or Aus citizens.

  10. Actually Star Wars isn’t popular in China, as the original films never screened in cinemas there, so the Chinese public don’t go for them much.

    Incorrect. Take a look at these numbers, as just one example.

    I agree, to introduce the Alpha 2.0 philosophy into China, you’d need the help of some Chinese and/or Chinese American dating coaches if you can find any, to help re-adapt The Unchained Man book for the Chinese culture and market

    Yep, exactly.

  11. Star Wars 7 :
    Domestic (US): $936,662,225 45.3%
    + Foreign: $1,131,561,399 54.7%
    = Worldwide: $2,068,223,624
    China: $124,159,138

    Avengers: Infinity War
    Domestic (US): $678,815,482 33.1%
    + Foreign: $1,369,544,272 66.9%
    = Worldwide: $2,048,359,754
    China: $359,543,153

    Valerian
    Domestic: $41,189,488 18.2%
    + Foreign: $184,684,740 81.8%
    = Worldwide: $225,874,228
    China: $62,073,823

    Blade Runner 2048

  12. I think the more clearer sign of falling western alpha male role in mass media we couldn’t get, Agent 007 should be played by a woman! Can’t imagine what else is coming…

  13. So if I had an idea for a online business which I’ve niched for the English speaking market but having read your post above regarding the business opportunities in China & thinking I can niche this even more, should I: # just keep the English language website of my planned business and sort out some ‘bi-lingual’ plug-ins for Mandarin & see what the Chinese traffic is like or # go the whole hog and get a Mandarin language website built?
    The first is cheaper (I’ve not got loads of cash to spend on marketing) and I can still post articles myself and know they’d be translated. Downside is that I’ve read articles on Western businesses in China and they basically say that you need a full Mandarin website with all the dozens of links which appeal to Chinese consumers and not the ‘clean & simple’ lines of a Western site.
    Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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