Copycatting Films: The Results of Culture Industry

When I was thinking of the plagiarism in networking culture, Frankfurt school’s idea Culture Industry has a significant impact on copycatting products. Culture industry is becoming increasingly fierce, but it gives every culture a fixed model that restrains individuals’ thoughts and creativity. In today’s film industry, thousands of cinematographic are created and presented by various directors and actors in a year; however, there is a trend that film producers prefer to take the similar story lines, settings or even the shooting angles in order to gain public praises and increase “box offices” easily. Plagiarism in films is becoming prevalent in the film industry of China, especially the “machine-made” scenarios and propaganda posters. Crazy Stone is one of the most successful movies in China which was released in 2006. Audiences who have seen both of the movies can perceive the exact same plots and character settings between those two works. Because of the achievement of Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrel, producers of Crazy Stone use the framework of the original film for reference. According to the time difference of this two films, Crazy Stone plagiarized the English movie Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrel (was produced in 1998).  The creation team of Crazy Stone believed the originality of this movie since they localized Chinese elements, including the usage of Chinese dialects and humorous. Therefore, they denied that they plagiarized the movie of Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrel. Besides the plagiarism in plots, China’s film studios also replicate the designs of posters from other delicate movies, which greatly decrease the time and costs of intellectual properties.

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Figure 1. Hot Summer day, was one of the popular movies in China in 2010, however its poster is similar to American movie Valentine’s day (2010). Because of their close release date, it is kind of hard to judge which one is the “copycat”.

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Figure 2. The Pianist, a story about a Polish musician and his tough life during the World War Two; The right hand side is the poster of Rape of Nanjing which is a document film, which introduces a history of Nanjing Massacre in 1937. Because of the similar historical background, the poster of these two movies look close to each other.

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