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China biz booming

Prod'n, box office records shatter in '05

Film in China is booming with box office, production and exhibition all breaking records in 2005.

Presenting a year-end summary, Tong Gang, director of the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that B.O. revenues had exceeded 2 billion yuan ($248 million) this year, growing 25% over 2004.

The Chinese mainland produced 260 films in 2005, an increase of 48 over last year, according to Tong, for the third successive year of production growth. He said that most projects were still filmed traditionally but that the total also includes 52 digital features.

Of the 260 films, 65 were produced by state-owned film studios, 96 by private or other non-governmental studios, 62 co-produced by state-owned and private studios and 37 co-produced by the state-owned private and foreign studios. China also made 129 TV movies, seven cartoon pics, 37 science and educational films and two “news movies.”

Country also saw its stock of cinemas swell in 2005. According to Sarft, some 55 new theater complexes opened with a total of 272 screens.

Forty of China’s more than 3,000 cinemas reported annual revenue of over $124,000, according to Tong.

Four complexes had revenue of over $3.72 million, but he did not give the name or location of the cinemas.

When all revenues are included, Sarft estimates that the Chinese movie industry is a $595 million business, and one that grew 33% this year.

Calculation includes Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese revenue of $205 million and TV rights revs in the mainland of $142 million.

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