Market Watch

Chinese Box Office Still Growing Strongly


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Chinese box office rose by 64 per cent in 2010, surpassing 10bn yuan for the first time. The full total for the year reached 10.2bn yuan ($1.55bn), which makes China one of the world's largest box office markets and with further potential growth to come as new screens are erected in an under-screened but fast modernising country. Nearly 14 per cent of the year's box office came from one film, Avatar, and 6.5 per cent came from record-breaking (at least until the recent release of Let the Bullets Fly) Chinese film Aftershock, but even without those two films, the increase is strong and seems to be sustainable as new screens go in. There were 526 local films released in the year, up from 456 the year before, which reflects the strong rise in film production over the past few years. There were over 500 films produced in 2010. However, only ten titles earned more than 100m yuan ($15.2m) or one per cent of box office total. In all, 59 titles earned more than 10m yuan ($1.5m), which means that 467 titles earned less than this. Very few of these films find their way into foreign markets. The theatrical market is completed by 24 foreign revenue-share films in 2010 (under a quota) and a further 30-40 foreign films acquired on a flat-fee basis. There were 6,200 modern screens in China at end of the year, a rise of 1,533 new screens in 313 sites during the year according to data from Chinese Film Bureau. Screens rose by 27 per cent on 2009 in comparison to the 64 per cent rise in box office.

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