China's 2018 box office gross hit US$8.8B

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 2, 2019
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Hundreds of moviegoers queue outside a cinema on Feb. 16, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

China's movie industry revenue went up 9 percent in 2018, passing the 60 billion yuan mark, though overall growth was more sluggish than the previous year, according to the State Film Administration on Monday night.

The statistics show that box office earnings across China in 2018 grossed 60.98 billion yuan (US$8.87 billion) by the end of last day of 2018, a 9.06 percent increase from last year's figure of 55.91 billion yuan (US$8.13 billion). Total distinct admissions in urban areas reached 1.72 billion in movie theaters around China, a 5.93 percent increase from 2017. 

Yet the numbers reflect a slower overall growth rate than the 2017 figures. As of the end of 2017, the annual box office gross had increased 13.45 percent year-over-year, while the annual growth rate for urban admissions was measured at 11.19 percent. 

Chinese domestic films contributed 62.15 percent of the gross to the market, and according to the report, China made a total of 1,082 films in 2018, including 902 feature films, 51 animated features, 61 science education films, 57 documentary films and 11 special films. 

However, the details show that in the past year, only 82 titles earned at above the 100-million-yuan (US$14.54 million) level, among which 44 were domestic. Twenty of those home-made films reached beyond the 500 million yuan (US$72.72 million) mark, with nine crossing the 1-billion-yuan (US$145.44 million) line.

The military action movie "Operation Red Sea" was the highest-grossing film in 2018, earning 3.65 billion yuan (US$530.87 million) from 93 million admissions nationwide. Two other notable performers were the tearjerker "Dying to Survive" and the comedy "Detective Chinatown 2," both of which grossed more than 3 billion yuan (US$436.33 million) at the box office.

The number of movie screens across the country reached 60,079, up 9,303 from 2017. China now has the most screens in the world, and still stands as the second-largest market behind the North America. 

The slower growth can be attributed to the sizeable retreat of venture capitals and the Chinese government's campaigns against questionable and illegal practices in the industry, such as tax evasion by actors and companies, and disproportionately high paychecks for certain high-profile stars.

Yin Hong, vice chairman of both the China Film Association and the China Film Critics Association, remarked on the status of the Chinese film industry by saying that although the industry is embracing winter, the creation of films is in its spring. He further explained that far more high-quality Chinese films were made last year, which was recognized by both critics and the audience.

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