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Film Industry Output Rises Sharply

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) approved a surprising total of 106 films in the first half of 2004. The number is expected to reach 200 by the end of the year.

Tong Gang, the head of SARFT's Film Bureau, said Wednesday that the number approved in the first half closely approaches the normal output for an entire year. He attributes the growth to reforms in the industry late last year.

Domestic filmmakers produced 140 films in 2003.

The domestically made films are attracting more and more moviegoers. For example, the House of Flying Daggers, directed by Zhang Yimou, earned 64.0 million yuan (US$7.8 million) in its first four days in mainland theaters, and set records in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well. The strong showing comes despite the pirated DVDs that appeared with amazing rapidity after the theater release, which the film's makers say are already having an effect on the box office.

In the second half of 2004, movies that will debut in China include those marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late leader Deng Xiaoping and the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China, as well as the annual New Year holiday releases.

(CRI July 22, 2004)

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