The trend of Asian martial arts in Hollywood has a long history. The first Asian actor, who was accepted by a western audience, was Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon (1973). Since then, Jackie Chan has also been trying to enter Hollywood. Finally, more than 20 years later he succeeded in it in his buddy cop genre movie Rush Hour (1998). Furthermore, after the hit of the Matrix (1999), that introduced the beauty of Hong Kong kung fu style action movies. Hong Kong kung fu style was accepted by the global audience. This is an important bridge that made a kung fu acceptable and interesting to western movie lovers and makers. Critics believe that due to the risen interest towards the martial arts thanks to the huge success of The Matrix (1999) next year Ang Lee won the 73rd Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with his Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. In 2002, Zhang Yimou also used the Hollywood visual effect technology to present the global audience his traditional wuxia movie Hero (2002) and broke the box office records in China and North America.
This paper examines the trend of Hollywood industry cooperation with Asian martial art genre films and takes the four significant movies such as Enter the Dragon (Warner Bros.), Rush Hour (New Line Cinema), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Sony Pictures Classics), and Hero (Miramax) to express the flow of Asian martial art movies go to the global scene, globalization of cross-cultural media issues, globalization of the local in each of the taken co-production movies, and the importance of Asian market.
The conclusion of this research shows that Chinese Martial Arts action genre is accepted by global audience. With successful box office, from Bruce Lee’s kung fu impression to Jackie Chan’s kung fu comedy; From Ang Lee’ Oscar to Yimou Zhang’ market success in China. This thesis concludes the historical significance of local Chinese kung fu films with East and West market considerations in their recent box office success in global film industry.
Co-production makes the partner’s market accessible. To narrow down Co-production issues, this thesis will focus on co-produced Kung fu movies. Not only Asians try to enter Hollywood, Hollywood also wants to enter Asian market.