The man Forbes Magazine lists as the world’s highest paid actor, Dwayne Johnson, has just endorsed Joe Biden for president. In a seven minute video pinned to his Facebook profile, Johnson, also known as “The Rock,” explained that “In this critical election, I believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the best to lead our country, and as my first ever (public) Presidential endorsement, I proudly endorse them for the presidential office of our United States.”
From reading through what are now over 100,000 comments in response to Johnson’s Facebook post, one can immediately conclude that Johnson’s endorsement backfired. There are almost no comments supporting his decision. Literally 99 percent of the comments are expressions of anger and feelings of being betrayed. Perhaps Johnson has really laid an egg. Perhaps he didn’t know his fans at all.
Or perhaps he didn’t care about his American fans.
There’s a truism in the world of finance, “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” but if you’re Dwayne Johnson, or Lebron James, or countless other luminaries of sports and screen, you’ve put that time tested wisdom aside in a mad dash into the Chinese market.
Never mind the slow but relentless inertia of history, and the inevitable clash it portends between America and China. If all you’re paying attention to is recent results and trends, the future for motion pictures, sort of like the future for professional basketball, is not in America, but China. A look at the most recent decade of the Rock’s blockbusters suggests the real reason he’s endorsing Biden. He wants to please his Chinese partners.
For example, “Furious 7,” 2015, grossed $353 million in the U.S. but raked in $390 million in China. “The Fate of the Furious,” 2017, grossed $225 million in the U.S., but grossed $392 million in China. Even more recent blockbusters delivered ongoing disparities. “Rampage,” 2018, grossed $101 million in the U.S. but grossed $159 million in China. “Skyscraper,” also released in 2018, grossed $68 million in the U.S. but hit $98 million in China.
Moreover, as most of America’s barely 40,000 movie theaters struggle with reopening, and may never rebound, China’s 70,000 movie theaters opened back up in August. And whereas the U.S. has 12 movie screens per 100,000 people, China only has 5 per 100,000. Surely the future of movies is in China!
The Rock’s New Tequila Brand Eyes China Consumer
It’s not just movies where the approval of the Chinese regime is critical to the financial success of Dwayne Johnson, but also to smooth the way for sales of his new brand of tequila. Launched earlier this year, Johnson’s “Teremana” tequila is attacking a sleeping giant, the Chinese market for tequila.
Despite being heavy drinkers, the Chinese are just beginning to discover tequila. It is outsold by most all other imported Western spirits, with whisky selling ten times as much into the Chinese market as tequila. After a sustained marketing effort by tequila distillers, however, China is now considered the next big market for tequila. And who better to introduce tequila to the Chinese consumer than Dwayne Johnson?
Don’t rock that boat, Mr. Rock. Never mind Hong Kong, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, the South China Sea, the Silk Road debt traps, or the COVID bug. And never mind the overwhelming influence Chinese money is having in literally every American institution from academia and media and big tech to Hollywood. There’s money to be made. And don’t worry. Losing half of a shrinking market in exchange for preferential access to the Chinese market is a worthy trade.
The Disillusionment of Millions of Fans is Nothing New
The Trump era has made it clear to ordinary Americans that their own national elite has turned on them, and considers them disposable. If you care about American jobs, American manufacturing, American culture, or staying out of endless wars, the almost universal opposition to President Trump by America’s elite institutions has made the situation crystal clear. You don’t matter.
Dwayne Johnson joins an ignominious list of celebrities that have decided to betray their lifetime fans by declaring their opposition to President Trump. Unlike some of his celebrity counterparts – Robert De Niro and Madonna come to mind – Johnson’s declaration of support for Biden tried to stay classy. He spoke of “courage, humanity, empathy, strength, grit, kindness and respect.” He urged everyone to be “kind and respectful to one another.”
This persona, “courage, humanity, strength, grit, kindness and respect,” is evident in many of Johnson’s better movies: Walking Tall (2004), Gridiron Gang (2006), Fighting With My Family (2019). It even shows up in his action movie characters. But that noble persona was shattered the moment Johnson threw in his lot with Biden and Harris.
These two politicians offer nothing to Americans apart from extending the misery we’re seeing in America’s Democrat ran cities into the rest of the United States. The cold fact that Johnson either ignores or cannot comprehend is that the urban governance model established by Democrats in cities from New York to Los Angeles is unsustainable. It is bankrupt morally and financially.
If Johnson, along with LeBron James and countless other athletes and celebrities truly care about America’s underprivileged, they would follow their conscience. They would display true courage, and call for school choice, stronger law enforcement, and make an uncompromising and unrelenting plea to inner city youth to avoid drugs, value education, and stay married.
Johnson, to his credit, has done this. But now he has lost all credibility. He has endorsed the corrupt racketeers who have destroyed America’s cities, and especially its underprivileged. This is inexplicable unless you follow the money.
China is Not the Future of the World
One of the most hilarious, hideous lies in politics today is that Russia constitutes the biggest threat to the integrity of American elections. First of all, it is laughably hypocritical, since the United States interferes all the time, almost everywhere, in elections abroad. But more to the point, Russian influence in America is a minute fraction of Chinese influence. China has ten times the population of Russia; China’s economy is also 10 times bigger. While Russia had a small trade surplus with the U.S. in 2019 of $16 billion, China’s was $295 billion.
Russia cannot buy the U.S., but China can. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. They bought Joe Biden and his family. And now they’ve bought Dwayne Johnson. But past performance is not indicative of future results. China is not destined to rule the world, and while the Chinese market may be the biggest among nations, it will always be only a fraction of the total global market.
The Chinese people are only 18 percent of global population, and that percentage is destined to shrink. The Chinese have already alienated entire huge nations with growing markets, including India which has a population projected to exceed China’s population within a few years. There are a lot of movie screens in India. And perhaps Dwayne Johnson should ask the family of a soldier recently killed on the Siachen Glacier what they think of his tequila.
What Dwayne Johnson needs to realize is that China may be a great short-term commercial opportunity, but they are headed for shoals. They are a high-tech police state where a small elite control most of the wealth, and even these elites live in constant fear. They have alienated every free nation in the world, and the only reason they still get a relative pass in the United States is because crooks like Joe Biden haven’t finished taking their money.
Dwayne Johnson could have kept his political sentiments to himself. Who told him that would not be sufficient?
This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.
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Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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