42% growth in Chinese box office for first half 2012

15 July 2012 18 h 11 min Comments Off

China box office crosses $1.2bn in H1

According to official government figures from State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) 國家廣播電影電視總局, total box office income in the six month period grew 42% year-on-year to RMB8.1 billion (US$1.26 billion), up from RMB5.7 billion ($893 million at current exchanges rates) in the first half of 2011.

During the same period, Chinese films had a 35% market share, down from 51% in the first six months of 2011.

. Chinese films had taken RMB2.81 billion this year by 30 June, down 4% from RMB2.93 billion year-on-year. (Last week, with the box office success of “Resurrection” and “Caught in the Web”, Chinese-language films had a 92% market share.)

. Hollywood films dominated the top ten charts. The only Chinese entry in the top ten films of the year so far is “Painted Skin: The Resurrection”. Still in cinemas, it was the fourth highest grossing film of the year by 8 July.

Last year was the first year that annual box office in China crossed US$2.0 billion (RMB13 billion). If the Chinese box office maintains its 42% growth rate through the whole year, 2012 box office could reach $2.9 billion. Even the blogger Robert Cain of chinafilmbiz projects the figures to surpass $3 billion. Whatever, China should overcome Japan box-office. Hit by the earthquake and tsunami of March, box office takings in Japan dropped by 18% last year to $2.34 billion.

Top 10 non -Chinese films (to 30 June 2012)
1. “Titanic” (1997) (RMB934.0 million, $146 million)
2. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (RMB679.2 million, $106 million)
3. “The Avengers” (RMB564.8 million, $88.5 million)
4. “Men In Black 3″ (RMB496.2 million, $77.8 million)
5. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (RMB387.8 million, $60.8 million)
6. “Battleship” (RMB306.4 million, $48.0 million)
7. “John Carter” (RMB264.4 million, $41.4 million)
8. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (RMB186.8 million, $29.3 million)
9. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” (RMB175.1 million, $27.4 million)
10. “Wrath of the Titans” (RMB160.1 million, $25.1 million)

Top 10 Chinese films 2012 (to 30 June 2012) [* still on release]
1. “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” (RMB216.0 million, $33.8 million) *
2. “The Great Magician” 大魔術師 (RMB173.8 million, $27.2 million)
3. “Mission Incredible: Adventures on the Dragon’s Trail” 喜羊羊與灰太狼之開心闖龍年(RMB165.4 million, $25.9 million)
4. “Guns and Roses” 黃金大劫案 (RMB151.0 million, $23.7 million)
5. “Love” 愛 (RMB136.6 million, $21.4 million)
6. “The Viral Factor” 逆戰 (RMB129.4 million, $20.3 million)
7. “I Do” 我願意 (RMB85.32 million, $13.4 million)
8. “All’s Well, End’s Well” 2012 八星抱喜 (RMB84.44 million, $13.2 million)
9. “Black & White Episode I: The Dawn of Assault” (RMB71.24 million, $11.2 million) * **
10. “Love in the Buff” 春嬌與志明 (RMB70.79 million, $11.1 million)

** The SARFT numbers include in the Chinese films the action-comedy “Black & White Episode I: The Dawn of Assault” 痞子英雄首部曲:全面開戰; the Taiwan-produced and Taiwan-invested film only recently became an official China co-production for its Mainland release.

Source: SARFT, Film Biz Asia

The growing success of Hollywood

As usual, the most popular imports this year are from Hollywood: the 3-D release of “Titanic” ($154.8 million), “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” ($102.7 million) and “The Avengers” ($90.3 million). Even the local dud “Battleship” has performed well in China, grossing more than $50 million.

According to Robert Cain quoted by LA Times, “eight American productions already have surpassed $40 million in Chinese ticket sales this year, equal to the total for all of 2011. American movies account for 63% of China’s grosses so far this year. The highest-grossing movie made entirely in China, as opposed to a China-Hong Kong co-production, is the animated “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf,” which has grossed $25.8 million in Chinese multiplexes.”

Robert Cain projects that China will pass the United States as the world’s biggest movie market by 2020, if not sooner. The country recently relaxed the number of non-Chinese movies that can be shown in local theaters every year, but the government’s distribution terms — which give producers about 25% of ticket sales, rather than half as in the United States — are still much harsher than any major market.

Chinese box office could surpass $3 Billion in 2012

Despite the restrictions on film imports, and notoriously heavy-handed censorship on the part of Beijing authorities, the opportunity is clearly there in China’s fast-expanding film market.

Last year, the Motion Picture Association of America said that the number of cinema screens in China should rise from around 6,200 in 2011 to over 16,000 in 2015, with box-office receipts in China expected to swell from US$1.5 billion in 2011 to around $5 billion in 2015. China’s appetite for film is expected to see it surpass the US as the world’s largest cinema market by 2020, if not sooner. According to Variety, “with grosses expected to reach $5 billion by 2015, China’s B.O. total could equal the U.S. and Canada’s $10 billion annually by 2020.”

China box office revenue for the first six months of 2012 has generated an extra $1 billion over 2011. With the China’s allowance of 34 foreign pics, up from the previous quota of 20, the Chinese BO should continue to grow. Since the added films must be 3D or large-format films, the growth likely will continue to be dominated by big-budget Hollywood fare.

SOURCES: Jing Daily (12/07/12), SARFT, Film Biz Asia (13/07/12)

ON THE WEB:

. “Hollywood pix dominate Chinese B.O”. Variety (9/07/12)

“Chinese box office off to strong 2012 start” LA Times (10/07/12)

. “Hollywood films relegating Chinese films at BO IndianTelevision” (10/07/12)

. “Chinese Box Office Could Surpass $3 Billion In 2012″ jingdaily.com (12/07/12)

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