Thursday, September 1, 2011

China 2009 box office analysis

Since 2003, the Chinese film industry has been growing steadily with an astonishing rate of 25 % each year. Currently, China is one of the largest box office markets internationally. 2009 is a booming year for the Chinese film industry.  In 2009 the China box office also raised the box office growth up to 43%.  In 2009, as the world’s economy suffered a global downturn, China film market’s performance has proved right that movie business can benefit during times of recession.

The main reason behind the rapid growth is the increase of the country’s cinemas and screens and governmental support.  In many major Chinese cities, cinema-going has become a new lifestyle of the country’s burgeoning middle class.  As a result, the movie-going population has also largely increased.
Besides the growth in the exhibition sector, the industry has seen major increases in production, distribution and film financing.  With the expansion of the market and the influx of capital, the China film industry sees a bustling and prosperous year in 2009.

Box office 

The 2009 China box office revenue reached RMB6.206bn, a 43% increase on the box office revenue in 2008, which was RMB4.341bn.  The result is seen as a nice surprise for the industry, which previously estimated that the revenue reach RMB5bn.  Looking ahead in 2010, the first two months of 2010 continue the strong performance in 2009.  EntGroup estimates that the 2010 China box office revenue will reach RMB10bn, and the revenue will reach RMB20bn, by the end of 2012.
In terms of box office takings of individual films, 2009 is also a record-breaking year.  The highest-grossing record in China was RMB360m, set by Titanic in 1998.  The 11-year record was broken in 2009 with three films each grossing more than RMB400m:  2012, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and local blockbuster The Founding of a Republic.  The three films, as well as 18 other films, that made more than RMB100m, have raised the bar for blockbusters in Chinese film market.
However, the box office takings are unevenly distributed with many blockbusters hits dominating the market, while only a few films reaching mid-sized box office gross (RMB50m to RMB100m).  The theatrical market is heavily dependent on blockbusters.
 In 2008 the total film production volume is 456 films, which is an increase of 56 films, or 12.3% increase on the production volume of 2008.  However, among the 456 films, only 130 films get to be released in movie theaters, means more than two thirds of them could not be released in cinemas.  The quantity of film production and the quality of films is still imbalanced.
As the only two companies authorized to distribute foreign films, China Film Group and Huaxia Film Distribution remain two leading film distribution companies in China.  As China Film Group also co-owns two cinema circuits, its exhibition resources give China Film Group extra advantages, thus remaining the biggest distribution company in China, leading other companies by a large margin.  Huaxia Film Distributions stands second.
3D screening has become a major film distribution trend in 2009. Several Hollywood films were introduced to China in 3D screens only, and they have performed remarkably in box office takings.  China Film Digital, the company authorized to take charge of distribution of all 3D films, has made an impressive progress in its market share among all distribution companies.
In 2009, China adds 142 new cinemas and 626 screens to its exhibition sector of the industry, making a total of 1687 cinemas and 4723 screens.  Among the existing 26 cinema circuits, 14 circuits have grossed more than RMB100m ($14.64m) in 2009.


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