LOS ANGELES • Taiwan film-maker Lee Ang predicted that the Chinese film market was about to explode, not only overtaking, but also dwarfing the American box office in a matter of years.
Lee, 62, said executives in the world's second-biggest economy used to rely on him as a bridge to Hollywood, but the newly confident Chinese film industry no longer finds it necessary.
"It's huge, it's going to be bigger in a few years," Lee told reporters on the red carpet at the Bafta Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills.
"In a few years, it's probably going to be bigger (than the United States) and then in the years to come, a lot bigger. They've got many people and, most importantly, film has been lacking in the past in the culture, so it's still fresh."
At the ceremony - which celebrates the contributions of Hollywood talent and British entertainers - Lee received the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for excellence in directing, presented to him by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, whom he directed in Brokeback Mountain (2005).
His war drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, starring Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin, is out in the US on Nov 11.