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Foreign movies a big hit at box office
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Unexpectedly, foreign movies got the upper hand at the box office over domestic films last year, according to a 2008 report on the development of China's cultural industry, released yesterday in Beijing.

Four foreign movies released in the summer had record box office takings, according to the report by the Chinese Academic Institution of Social Science, the Ministry of Culture and Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Transformers, for example, amassed more than 270 million yuan ($38 million) in China last year, which outperformed the previous highest box office record created by Titanic around 10 years ago.

Yin Hong and Zhan Qingsheng, from the Communication Institution of Tsinghua University, warned in the report that imported films had taken a large slice of China's movie market, while domestic movies were struggling.

Though the number of annual domestic movies produced ranked third, after India and the United States, they did not do so well at the box office last year, the report said.

For example, 10 of the top foreign films raked in about 30 percent of the total 3.2 billion yuan at the box office last year, the report said.

On a positive note, a decrease in ticket prices did attract more youngsters to the flicks last year.

In some provinces, cinemas saw record attendances last year after launching half price promotions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The average price of a movie ticket in September was less than 20 yuan ($2.83), nationwide, down about 33 percent from the record price established in 2006.

(China Daily March 20, 2008)

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