Category: The Median

“Going Hollywood” . . . by Buying It

On a recent trip to China, Mastermedia CEO Dan Rupple observed that American films are creating a whole new generation of Chinese filmmakers who aspire to “make it” in Hollywood. Dan says, “If I wasn’t sure before, I am convinced now that America’s most influential export is American films.”

Wang Jianlin, China’s wealthiest executive, recognizes the scope of Hollywood’s power and influence and is aggressively expanding into the U.S. film industry through his media conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Group. According to The Washington Times (August 31, 2016), his desire is . . . “to acquire one of the six major Hollywood studios” and he has vowed “to change the world where rules are set by foreigners.”

With more Chinese movie theaters than any other company, Wanda is now focusing on global expansion. The Times noted, “In 2012, [Wanda] bought AMC Theatres, which recently announced a deal to acquire Britain’s Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group and is trying to scoop up Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas.” And in November 2016, Wanda purchased Dick Clark Productions.

Wang’s ambitious plans are unnerving to some lawmakers. Increasing control and power over the content and distribution of American movies by any company—particularly one closely aligned with the Chinese government—has the potential to shift the balance of power in global entertainment and eclipse America as the world’s largest movie market.

The Times states, “Owning a large portion of the world’s theater business gives Wanda a massive influence over the global film industry and could give it leverage in negotiations with studios over sharing box office revenue. The company has said it wants to control 20% of global box office ticket sales by 2020.”

Despite concerns about China’s growing power in the entertainment industry, The Times found that filmmakers they interviewed were skeptical about China using movies for propaganda—especially if it gets in the way of making money.

“If they do that, people will stop watching the movies,” said John Davis, a film and TV producer for Fox and Sony. “Chinese companies are all driven by the profit motive.”

The Turning Point . . .

James Corden, host of The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS, was raised as a Christian and attended church in the U.K. But seven years ago, after a season of partying, loneliness, and heartbreak, he experienced a life-changing moment.

“The person I had become wasn’t the person I wanted to be,” (British tabloid, Daily Mail). “I was lost and needed to find myself.”

In the midst of his despair, his Christian parents showed up unannounced. “I felt embarrassed that they were seeing me like this . . . My dad just stood up and walked to where I was, and he just put his arms round me and said ‘You’ve just got to get through this, son.’

“I started to cry. [His dad] said, ‘I’m going to say a prayer for you. It will be all right, but you can’t carry on like this, and only you can decide what happens now.’ Dad said a prayer as he kissed my forehead and Mum came over and joined the hug.”

“When they left later on, Dad turned to me and said, ‘You’ve so much to be thankful for, James. I know it’s been a tricky year, but you can’t carry on like this.’”

That was the turning point.

Now married and a father with a successful career, James is not the young actor once known for his wild lifestyle. Prayer—the world’s greatest life-changer.

What If Mastermedia Never Existed?

by Dan Rupple

One of my all-time favorite films is the Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. When George Bailey, a man struck by wanderlust yet stuck in the small town of Bedford Falls, stands on the local bridge contemplating ending it all in the icy waters below, Clarence the Angel comes to his rescue. After a vivid and disturbing glimpse of what life in Bedford Falls would be like if he had never existed, George comes to realize how his mere presence has powerfully impacted an entire town and its community for the good.

I wonder . . . what might Hollywood be like if there wasn’t a vibrant Christian presence within the industry’s ranks? What if all the Christian ministries closed their doors and jumped into the icy waters, abandoning Hollywood? What if Mastermedia’s long history of building friendships with the key influential media leaders who control what the world sees on their screens had never happened?

Only God knows . . . but Hollywood would be without the powerful influence of thousands of prayers generated through the Media Leader Prayer Calendar. And fewer media leaders would hear the gospel message in the context of a one-on-one trust relationship with Christians who love and care for them.

During my years at CBS Studios supervising The Price Is Right, I committed to make a personal connect with each member of the 100-person production team I supervised. As friendships developed, it wasn’t long before members of the crew would candidly share with me the pain of a recent difficulty they were walking through.

One day Art (not his real name), one of the most brash and abrasive members of our crew, was uncharacteristically quiet. As I pulled him over to a secluded corner of the studio we began to talk, and Art slowly opened up. His doctor had just told him he had a very advanced stage of cancer. Devastated and feeling hopeless, Art surprised me by allowing me to pray for him. As I prayed, he seemed embarrassed and quickly wiped away his tears. But soon his self-consciousness faded with the realization that he had been escorted into the presence of the living God. Before Art died, he knew the touch of a loving Savior. I stand in awe of these moments . . . how our God chooses to speak His love through us!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)

God Himself entered the world He created and walked among us—and that’s what we try to do every day at Mastermedia. For nearly 32 years, Mastermedia has been a consistent, uplifting presence “walking among” the world’s media leaders, building bridges to the boardrooms and executive offices of Hollywood’s gatekeepers. Like Clarence, interceding and helping them to see the world differently and understand God’s place in it.

Now more than ever, the Mastermedia team is committed to being there with all our heart, soul and strength; to serve as ambassadors of the Most High God, continuing to touch the lives of countless media leaders with the love of Jesus Christ.