Hollywood domination and 35% growth in first half of year mainland box office

10 July 2012 23 h 58 min Comments Off

Box office in the territory grew 35% in the first half of year to 7.74 billion yuan ($1.22 billion), and nine of the top 10 titles were from outside China.

Box office for Hollywood films in China continues to surge and foreign pics should continue to reap the lion’s share of Chinese B.O. thanks to the recently increased quota for imports of premium films. 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.

Some 141 films unspooled in China in the first half, of which 103 were from greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. A total of 38 foreign films took a combined gross of $790 million; more than 100 local pics took a combined $470 million.

Performances of local and foreign films

Local films*      103 (73%)       470 million US$ (37.3%)

Foreign films      38 (27%)       790 million US$ (62.7%)

TOTAL               141                  1 260 million US$

* greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan

The highest-grossing pic so far this year, according to Chinese media reports, was the 3D release of “Titanic,” with $153 million; it’s third on the list of all-time top earners behind “Avatar” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Other Hollywood titles in the top 10 included “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” “Battleship,” “The Avengers” and “Men in Black 3.”

Though “The Hunger Games” missed the Chinese top 10, with nearly $25 million after four weeks locally, the film still shows the potential for non-studio pics that are usually released outside summer. Warner Bros.’ “Wrath of the Titans,” which tallied $25.4 million in China, was the first film to benefit from the country’s higher revenue-sharing ratio.

The best-performing Chinese movie was “Painted Skin 2,” which took $47 million in four days.

New strong international and domestic relesase

China’s allowance of 34 foreign pics, up from the previous quota of 20, will continue to grow the local box office, and since the added films must be 3D or large-format films, the growth likely will continue to be dominated by big-budget Hollywood fare.

Chinese authorities hope that the next local releases will help to increase the domestic share of B.O. Among Chinese tentpoles due later in the year are Feng Xiaogang’s “1942,” starring Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins; Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster”; and Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac”. But there are also strong U.S. pics in the pipeline, including the latest “Batman” and “Spider-Man” new episodes.

China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and TV will report official data this week.

SOURCE: Xinhua, Variety (09/07/12)

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