China's box office sales surge 36 pct in 2014

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-01-02 15:15:59

China's box office sales totaled 29.6 billion yuan (about 4.84 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, up 36 percent year on year, the country's film bureau said on Thursday.

Domestic films raked in more than 16.15 billion yuan, accounting for 54.5 percent of last year's box office revenues in the Chinese mainland, said Zhang Hongsen, head of the film bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Facing pressures from Hollywood, Chinese films still gained major market share and were welcomed by audiences, he said, citing "The Taking of Tiger Mountain," "Coming Home" and "Dearest" as outstanding domestic films.

A total of 618 Chinese films were produced in 2014, while 638 were made in 2013.

More people went to see movies in 2014, with viewers taking 830 million trips to the cinema, up 34.5 percent year on year, the administration said.

Earnings of 66 films surpassed the 100-million benchmark last year, including 36 domestic productions. In 2013, 60 films surpassed that figure.

China gained 1,015 cinemas and 5,397 screens last year, bringing the total number of screens to 23,600.

"On average, 15 more screens were added each day," Zhang said.

Chinese films grossed 1.87 billion yuan overseas, up 32 percent, the official said.

As the second-largest film market after the United States, China saw its film industry balloon in 2010, when its annual box office sales surpassed 10 billion yuan for the first time. In 2013, it took only six months for ticket sales to reach 10 billion yuan.

Although box office revenues alone cannot fully reflect the state of China's film industry, attracting larger audiences and increasing domestic market share will help promote the country's soft power, experts said.

Zhang said Chinese filmmakers should be aware of pressures and challenges and enhance filmmaking quality in 2015.

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