China's film watchdog is mulling measures to make going to the cinema more affordable, including setting a maximum price for tickets and boosting the number of half-price screenings.
"The ticket price is still on the high side and cannot meet people's expectations and demand for movies," said Tong Gang, head of the movie bureau at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), on Monday.
According to the China Film Industry Report 2010-2011, the country's average ticket price in 2010 stood at 5.3 U.S. dollars, while the figure in the United States was 7.89 U.S. dollars.
However, 5.3 U.S. dollars represents one-fifty seventh of the average monthly income of a Chinese urbanite, while 7.89 U.S. dollars represents just one-four hundred and ninetieth of the the U.S equivalent.
In major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the ticket price for a blockbuster can surpass 100 yuan (16 U.S. dollars).
According to Tong, the SARFT will issue a recommended pricing guideline for cinemas in 2012, set a maximum price and urge cinemas to increase half-price ticket deals.
The SARFT will also encourage supervision from other organizations and the public on violations in the cinema market, Tong said.
Tong added that the SARFT will issue warnings for cinemas that do not submit actual box office revenue and revoke licenses for "serious" violators.
Latest figures show that box office earnings from China's film industry in 2011 surpassed 12 billion yuan (around 1.89 billion U.S dollars).