Movies' Midas touch


Xu Fan

( China Daily )
Updated: 2015-10-02 09:02:05


Movies' Midas touch

[Photo by Wang Xiaoying/China Daily]

Cinema typically prospers during slowdowns, and insiders think new films will turn box offices to gold, Xu Fan reports.

China's box-office chart has seen new records set frequently in recent months. The latest big high-this year's first three-quarters raking in more money than all of 2014-has sparked predictions that 2015 will roar all the way to 40 billion yuan ($6.25 billion).

Powered by a strong summer season, the world's second-largest movie market grossed about 32 billion yuan from more than 320 movies in the first nine months of 2015, according to box office tracker

Last year, the country's rapidly growing market brought in total box-office revenue of 29.6 billion yuan, a mark reached by Sept 2 this year, nearly four months earlier than last year.

Based on the frenetic growth rate, many insiders-including the analysts and experts contacted by China Daily-estimate that 2015 will pass the 40 billion yuan milestone, and some even predict 45 billion.

However, a longtime concern for Chinese films lingers. A big section of the booming market features foreign rivals, although domestic films are chipping away at their dominance. The country's top movie regulator said around 60 percent, or 18 billion yuan, of the nine-month box office receipts were taken by domestic titles.

That's up significantly from last year's 54 percent.

In a positive sign to Chinese moviemakers, the homegrown live-action animated film Monster Hunt beat out the strong Hollywood rival Fast and Furious 7, a high-octane action blockbuster, to become the highest-grossing title in the history of Chinese cinema.

Thanks to its extended release of up to 63 days-a normal span for big movies is around five weeks or less-and creative characters, Monster has brought in 2.44 billion yuan, a slim lead over Furious 7's 2.43 billion yuan.

Despite the top glory, three of the other Top 5 big-grossing films were titles from the United States.

Marvel's superhero adventure Avengers: Age of Ultron takes the third slot with a total box office of 1.46 billion yuan, followed by Jurassic World at 1.42 billion yuan and the Chinese-language pop comedy Jian Bing Man at 1.16 billion yuan.

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