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Chinese watch more at home

Number of moviegoers in Beijing fell since last year

Watching movies has become a favorite pastime in China but the number of cinemagoers declined last year, according to a report on cultural industries by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Film has become a daily consumption item and a major part of the zeitgeist,” ran the report, which was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency.

However, in Beijing, people increasingly watched movies at home on DVD instead of going to the cinema.

Among Beijingers, the number of moviegoers fell from 17.8% in 2003 to 12.4% in 2004 and 12.2% last year, according to the report.

All told, “culture-related expenses” like education and entertainment accounted for $104 billion in China last year. But the theatrical film market generated only about $250 million, of which local films accounted for 60%, the report said, a figure in line with other readouts on last year’s B.O.

The Communist Party recently distributed a circular urging cultural orgs including movie studios, theaters and TV production companies to become more market oriented.

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