New Books Network

Chris Fenton

Feeding the Dragon

Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, and American Business

Post Hill Press 2020

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in FilmNew Books in LawNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 5, 2020 Nick Pozek

For seventeen years, Chris Fenton served as the president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group, a multi-billion-dollar global media company headquartered in Beijing. He...

For seventeen years, Chris Fenton served as the president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group, a multi-billion-dollar global media company headquartered in Beijing. He has produced or supervised twenty-one films, grossing $2 billion in worldwide box-office.

In his new book, Feeding the Dragon: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, & American Business (Post Hill Press, 2020), Fenton shares not only his journey from waiting tables at the Olive Garden to producing some of the most recognizable Hollywood blockbuster movies. And, in the process, he discovers his diplomatic mission: connecting the US and China through commerce and culture:

I felt a sense of mission that went far beyond box-office numbers. US-China relations were on the line. We all knew it. We had to make it work. But as an American, something bigger was at stake. We were pulling a rival country’s culture into our own. We were doing more than opening a market or making nice with China. We were bridging a cultural gap, making the world smaller, more stable, less contentious, and much safer. Failure would surely result in the opposite effect.

Fenton conveys not only the regulatory obstacles that U.S. movies face when entering the Chinese market but also the cultural barriers. For the media to be successful in China, it needs to be relevant to Chinese audiences. But, while facing challenges in Asia, DMG also found trouble in the U.S. when the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation of their dealings in China

Like the blockbuster movies Fenton produces (and talks of a cinematic adaption of Feeding the Dragon are underway), this book has broad appeal. It is a gripping page-turner, a glimpse into the regulatory complexity of the Chinese entertainment market, and an introduction into what Fenton calls “film diplomacy.” Punctuated by succinct chapters, the book is an easy read, mixing a compelling story with rich insights.

Like the blockbuster movies Fenton produces (and talks of a cinematic adaption are underway), Feeding the Dragon has broad appeal. It is a gripping page-turner, a glimpse into the regulatory complexity of the Chinese entertainment market, and an introduction into what Fenton calls “film diplomacy.” Punctuated by succinct chapters, the book is an easy read, mixing a compelling story with rich insights.


Nick Pozek is Assistant Director of the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University and a host of New Books in Law.