Holiday upsurge leads to record-breaking box-office revenues

By Tang Yue ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-04-04 02:17:22

Soaring Spring Festival audience numbers see cinema owners reeling in the profits in the first quarter

Holiday upsurge leads to record-breaking box-office revenues

People pose in front of a poster of The Mermaid, directed by Stephen Chow, at a cinema in Beijing in February. Zou Hong/China Daily 

China's box office revenues jumped by 51 percent to a record 14.47 billion yuan ($2.23 billion) in the first quarter, thanks to a rise in audience numbers during the New Year holiday season.

However, despite being delighted by the rise, many insiders have voiced concerns about irregularities and possible bubbles in China's movie industry, and have called for a more healthy and sustainable development.

Data released on Sunday show that the week-long Spring Festival holiday, from Feb 7 to 13, generated 3.6 billion yuan in ticket revenues, while February enjoyed the quarter's best returns with 6.9 billion yuan, according to China National Radio. It cited new figures from the Office of National Film Development Funds Management Committee, affiliated to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which collates statistics for box-office receipts.

Earning 10.5 billion yuan, Chinese films accounted for almost three-quarters of the takings in the country's box offices during the first quarter, with the record-breaking romantic comedy The Mermaid earning 3.4 billion yuan.

Zootopia was the most popular foreign movie, with box-office receipts of 1.34 billion yuan, according to the data.

"In the past, people were used to watching the Spring Festival Gala and that was it. Now, going to the cinema has become the norm for many people during the holidays," said Yin Hong, director of Tsinghua University's center for film and television.

Yin said the sharp rise in revenue was mainly due to migrant workers returning to their hometowns during Spring Festival and bringing their family to the cinema as a treat.

"These young people are used to the urban lifestyle, and they still want a taste of it back home, while making the whole family happy at the same time. With more screens set up in small and medium-sized cities, going to watch a movie is a good choice," he said.

Last year, the number of movie screens in China rose from 23,592 to 31,627, with 22 added every day on average, many of them in smaller cities, according to the administration.

Yu Chao, deputy general manager of Capital Cinema, one of Beijing's oldest film theaters, said the rate of increase was far slower in Beijing, China's largest film market, than elsewhere. Last year, Beijing's cinemas held market share of about 7.2 percent.

"Our most popular downtown cinema enjoyed an increase (in revenue) of less than 3 percent, while a newly opened one in the suburbs saw a rise of 20 percent," Yu said.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular