Growth of Chinese movie box-office revenue in 2018 slows

BEIJING • China's movie box-office revenue rose 9 per cent last year to 60.98 billion yuan (S$12 billion), state media reported, a slower pace than the 13.45 per cent clocked for 2017.

Domestic films recorded ticket sales of 37.9 billion yuan last year, accounting for 62 per cent of the total box office, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Monday, citing data from the State Film Administration.

Domestic films in 2017 accounted for 54 per cent of total box office.

China is the second-largest movie market globally after the United States, though it already has more total movie screens after years of rapid expansion in theatre networks.

The number of movie screens reached 60,079 across the country, an increase of 9,303 from 2017, Xinhua said. That compares to just more than 40,000 screens in the United States, according to data from US-based National Association of Theatre Owners.

China, which is on track to eventually overtake the North America film market, has become an increasingly important region for global producers looking to pump up their box-office returns, despite a quota on imported films and strict censorship.

China has been seeking to promote home-grown productions to rival imported Hollywood films. But several big-budget Chinese films have flopped while more modest productions have done well, highlighting the challenges China faces.

 

Last year, Dying To Survive, a low-budget Chinese comedy-drama without big stars, became the summer smash hit, while Asura, the big-budget, star-studded epic on mythology, bombed at the box office and was withdrawn immediately after its opening weekend.

Trade magazine Variety called it "the most expensive flop in Chinese history".

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2019, with the headline 'Growth of Chinese movie box-office revenue in 2018 slows'. Print Edition | Subscribe