Chinese film market breaks national and world records

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 2, 2018
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China's box offices pulled in more than 10 billion yuan in February, reaching a new high for the Chinese film industry as well as setting a new world record.

Six films competed against each other during the most profitable Spring Festival holiday movie season to date. [File photo/]

According to data from the Film Bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China (SAPPRFT), earnings from all films screened across China grossed 10.13 billion yuan (US$1.594 billion) last month, breaking the single month national record of 7.37 billion yuan (in August 2017). The figure also surpassed the world record for single month gross, previously held by North America at US$1.395 billion  (in July 2011).

Thanks to Spring Festival movie surge, China's box office sales totaled more than 5.44 billion yuan (US$856 million) during the week-long holiday, the country's most profitable film season, and continued to soar even following the holiday.

On the lunar New Year's Day alone (Feb. 16) the Chinese market pulled in more than 1.26 billion yuan (US$198.4 million) in ticket sales, a new one-day record for any single market in the world—breaking the previous record when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and other films grossed US$137 million in North America on Dec. 18, 2015. 

One reason for the recent movie frenzy is the rising quality of Chinese films. A survey conducted jointly by the China Film Art Research Center and China's leading entertainment consulting agency Entgroup revealed that Chinese audiences gave an average satisfaction score of 83.4/100 for this year's Spring Festival season films, the highest ever for the same annual period.

Three tentpole films each earned more than 2 billion yuan (US$315.6 million), a first in the history of China's film industry. The Film Bureau report counted a total of 8.22 million film screenings in February, attracting 259 million admissions in theaters nationwide.

Among its other records, China also now has the most screens in the world. According to statistics, there are 9,914 cinemas and 53,824 screens—47,466 of which are equipped to project 3D films.

In the remaining months of 2018, further potential exists to break more records as big shot directors will release new titles, such as Zhang Yimou's "Shadow," Jiang Wen's "Hidden Man" and Ning Hao's "Crazy Alien." Meanwhile, actors-turned-directors Huang Bo and Rene Liu will also present their highly anticipated directorial debuts.

Analysts have optimistically speculated the Chinese film market's total gross for 2018 could reach 70 billion yuan (US$11.03 billion), an enormous leap from 2017's total of 55.91 billion yuan (US$8.8 billion). This figure would also bring China closer to becoming the largest film market in the world.

Top 10 highest grossing films in February 2018

  1. "Detective Chinatown 2" -  2.86 billion yuan (US$450.9 million)

  2. "Operation Red Sea" -  2.49 billion yuan (US$392.57 million)

  3. "Monster Hunt 2" -  2.1 billion yuan (US$331 million)

  4. "The Monkey King 3" -  702 million yuan (US$110.68 million)

  5. "Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink" -  560 million yuan (US$88.29 million)

  6. "Secret Superstar" -  260 million yuan (US$41 million) (total gross 746 million yuan since January)

  7. "Till the End of the World" -  233 million yuan (US$36.73 million)

  8. "The Faces of My Gene" -  145 million yuan (US$22.86 million)

  9. "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" -  120 million yuan (US$18.92 million) (total gross 314 million yuan since January)

  10. "Forever Young" -  110 million yuan (US$17.34 million) (total 753 million yuan since January)

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