US blockbusters are changing, thanks to the rise developing economies and their growing strategic heft. This is a fascinating review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:

Big American movies at the moment are no longer about American might. They’re more about ambivalence, more about “maybe.”...Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an entire movie about how Americans aren’t the center of the universe.

Earlier this year we had a reboot of the Godzilla franchise. Here's Tyler Cowen on the geopolitical subtext:

The film is really a plea for an extended and revitalized Japanese-American alliance. The real threat to the world are the Mutos, not Godzilla, who ends up defending America, after the lead Japanese character in the movie promises the American military Godzilla will be there as our friend (don’t kill me, that is not a major spoiler as it is telegraphed way in advance).

The Mutos, by the way, are basically Chinese mythological dragons, and an image of two kissing Muto-like beings is shown over the gate of San Francisco’s Chinatown three different times in the movie, each time with greater conspicuousness. The Mutos base themselves in Chinatown in fact.  Note that the Mutos can beat up on Godzilla because of their greater numbers, but as for one-on-one there is no doubt Godzilla is more fierce. And the name of the being — Muto — what does that mean?...General Akira Muto led the worst excesses committed by Japanese troops during the Rape of Nanjing, perhaps the single biggest Chinese grievance against The Land of the Rising Sun, and thus the beings are a sign of the Chinese desire for redress and revenge. Unless of course the right military alliance comes along to contain them and save the world…

The film is really a plea for an extended and revitalized Japanese-American alliance.  The real threat to the world are the Mutos, not Godzilla, who ends up defending America, after the lead Japanese character in the movie promises the American military Godzilla will be there as our friend (don’t kill me, that is not a major spoiler as it is telegraphed way in advance).

The Mutos, by the way, are basically Chinese mythological dragons, and an image of two kissing Muto-like beings is shown over the gate of San Francisco’s Chinatown three different times in the movie, each time with greater conspicuousness.  The Mutos base themselves in Chinatown in fact.  Note that the Mutos can beat up on Godzilla because of their greater numbers, but as for one-on-one there is no doubt Godzilla is more fierce.  And the name of the being — Muto — what does that mean?  I believe loyal MR readers already know, and apologies for reminding you.  General Akira Muto led the worst excesses committed by Japanese troops during the Rape of Nanjing, perhaps the single biggest Chinese grievance against The Land of the Rising Sun, and thus the beings are a sign of the Chinese desire for redress and revenge.  Unless of course the right military alliance comes along to contain them and save the world…

- See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/06/the-new-godzilla-movie-godzilla-minor-spoilers-in-post.html#sthash.WJ5pPAYo.dpuf

And then there is director Michael Bay's Transformers 4, which has quickly become notorious for its China pandering:

But the key to the Chinese box office isn't just the Chinese moviegoer. It's also the Chinese government. And so in a movie where the American government is represented by a sniveling White House chief of staff and a rogue CIA, China's leaders receive considerably more gentle treatment. When the fight moves east, the country's fictional defense minister grimly vows to scramble China's fighter jets to protect Hong Kong at all costs. His gaze is level, and his tone is determined: the moment isn't played for laughs.

The specificity of the promise — to protect "Hong Kong," as opposed to, say, all of China, or the world — sounds a bit odd. But that's because Bay went the extra mile on this one. He didn't just make the Chinese government look generically good; he made clear that Hong Kong, a British protectorate until 1997, was better off being part of China because it was under Beijing's protection. Take note, kids: that's how you suck up to China.