Crafting a World-Class Brand: Shaw Brothers’ Appropriation of Foreign Models

Erica Ka-Yan POON

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In the 1960s, Hong Kong–headquartered film studio Shaw Brothers was intent on boosting its profile on the international stage by carefully crafting a “world-class” image. It also hoped to boost productivity and creativity with a new wave of films, for which it hired Japanese directors, cinematographers, and others above the line talent. Japan’s Nikkatsu Studio, the home of “borderless action” pictures, supplied a ready-made source of stories, styles, and marketing templates. Directors from Japan were asked to change their names, and titles of remakes tweaked to appeal to local audiences and regional Southeast Asian markets. Shaw Brothers’ desire for international recognition, box office success, and film festival prizes also drove the studio to look abroad at the model of successful Anglo-American productions such as the James Bond series. Were Shaw Brothers rewarded with market dominance, festival rewards, and a “world-class” status? This article will survey the output and financial growth of the studio from 1964 to 1971 to determine whether this strategy paid off.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalMedia Industries Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Hong Kong Cinema
  • Japanese Cinema
  • Shaw Brothers
  • the James Bond Series
  • Transnational Film Remakes


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