China box office revenue up 51% in 1st quarter

A man walks past a poster of the Monster Hunt (R) at a cinema in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province [Xinhua]

A man walks past a poster of the “Monster Hunt” (R) at a cinema in Shenyang, capital of northeast China’s Liaoning Province [Xinhua]

China’s box office revenues grew 51 per cent in the first quarter of this year, China National radio said on Sunday.

The state-run CNR data said ticket sales in the first three months of 2016 amounted to 14.5 billion yuan (1.57 billion pounds).

China boasts of about 31630 movie screens. The country added 8035 new screens in 2015.

Chinese films accounted for almost three-quarters of the country’s box office in the first quarter.

Box-office revenue of Chinese cinemas reached 6.9 billion yuan in February surpassing that of North American cinemas, adding to speculation that China’s annual box office could soon surpass North America.

In 2015, China’s box office revenues reached a record 44 billion yuan ($6.8 billion).

The country’s box office sales are growing an average of 34 per cent a year.

But a ticketing fraud has negatively impacted the Chinese film industry.

Earlier last month, China’s film market watchdog suspended the distribution license of a distributor that committed fraud to jack up the box office figures for martial arts film “Ip Man 3.”

“These kinds of issues could be considered inevitable in a young industry, but box office fraud has become so serious that it is already harming Chinese cinema,” said Zhang Hongsen, head of China’s state-run film bureau.

Meanwhile, as the US film market stagnates, China has been a focus for Hollywood studios.

Hollywood studios including Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. have struck partnerships with Chinese film and media companies to gain bigger audiences at more venues.

China limits foreign movie imports to 34 annually.

 

TBP and Agencies

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