Market Watch

Chinese Box Office Almost Doubles in First Half



Following a record first quarter in Chinese cinemas, box office revenues have continued to surge, recording an additional $242m in the second quarter. Total box office equated to $676.47m (4.6bn yuan) in the first half 2010, according to data from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and Screen International. The outstanding performance of 3D epic Avatar accounted for 1.35bn yuan ($199.2m)-nearly 30 per cent of half-yearly total alone. Disney's Alice in Wonderland was the second highest grossing US title, also a 3D release, but accounted for less than 25 per cent of Avatar's haul with 220m yuan ($33.5m). In total, the first six months registered an over 80 per cent increase on the same total in 2009, and equalled the revenue performance for the whole of 2008.

Analysis
Chinese box office revenue has grown dramatically, almost doubling on the same total last year, but it is clear that the success of Avatar as a unique title was a major contributor. However, other 3D films have also exhibited strong results particularly as many, like Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon, are released on fewer than 1,000 3D-only screens. As a result, that momentum will continue into the second half on the back of further 3D title releases, including the latest in both the Shrek and Toy Story franchises. China has the second highest total of 3D screens worldwide after the US, ahead of France (770) and the UK (550) as at first quarter 2010. Partly due to 3D releases, in which Hollywood leads the momentum, US films accounted for almost 60 per cent of the Chinese market in the first half year. The most successful local title was IP Man 2, which grossed 230m yuan ($33.9m), as the second most popular overall.

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