The box office in China, the world’s second-largest movie market, grew by 48.7 percent in 2015, reaching a record 44 billion yuan ($6.75 billion), the country’s film regulator said in a recent report.
The expansion marked the highest rate of growth since 2011, according to the State Administration for Press Publishing Radio Film and Television (SAPPRFT). Only five years ago, the total annual box office earnings in China were just $1.51 billion.
The growth was largely driven by the success of domestic productions, which the regulator said accounted for about 61 percent of the total sales. By comparison, Hollywood movies accounted for 38.4 percent of the Chinese box office this year, dropping from a 45.5 percent market share in 2014, as per the Hollywood Reporter.
Five Chinese domestic movies, including Goodbye Mr. Loser, Monster Hunt, Jian Bing Man, Lost in Hong Kong and Mojing: The Lost Legend, made over one billion yuan each ($153 million). Most of them were comedies about real-life situations.
While Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” crossed the $100 million mark in North American box offices almost 15 years ago, the Chinese movie market is now widely expected to overtake the North American box office within three years, according to Hollywood Reporter. That would make China …
Meanwhile, despite an economic slowdown in the country, China saw an expansion of cinema infrastructure in 2015.
A total of 8,035 screens were installed in 2015 — a rate of 22 screens erected every day. China’s screen count currently sits at 31,627, while the number in North America is estimated at around 39,000.
“As the number of theatres increases, more audiences in smaller cities go to cinemas. If the market continues to develop at this speed, China will definitely surpass the United States to become the largest movie market within three years,” said Shi Chuan, Deputy Chairman of the Shanghai Film Association.
However, industry insiders point out that China still needs to improve in terms of the regulation and maturity of its movie industry.
“For a fully developed franchise, box office sales are not the only source of income. Blu-ray releases and digital distribution, official merchandise, even video games and theme parks are all profitable aspects,” Ni Yuehong, Deputy Director of Beijing Film Academy told CCTVNEWS.