'Unbeatable,' distributed by Bona Film Group

HONG KONG – Gross box office in Hong Kong pushed ahead by a modest 4.2% in 2013 to hit US$210 million (HK$1.625 billion).

The figure, confirmed by Hong Kong Box Office, a unit of the Motion Picture Industry Association, was matched by a similar increase in the total number of releases, which climbed by 3% to 310, compared to 301 in 2012.

The number of local films on release took a severe tumble, falling from 52 in 2012 to just 42 in 2013. Foreign films released increased by 7% from 249 to 268.

Market share figures were essentially unchanged however. Hong Kong films claimed 21.7% (22.1% in 2012) worth HK$353 million, while foreign titles accounted for 78%.

The top local film, mixed martial arts drama “Unbeatable” (pictured) grossed US$5.75 million (HK$44.6 million) and placed third in the year’s box office chart, behind runaway winner “Iron Man 3,” which earned a massive US13.7 million (HK$106 million) and a rampant “Monsters University” on US$9.98 million (HK$77.4 million).

The Benny Chan-directed actioner “The White Storm,” which was the closing film at the Rome festival in November, scored US$3.91 million (HK$30.3 million) and was the only other local film in the top ten for last year.

Other films in the top ten included “World War Z,” “Thor 2,” Man of Steel,” “Despicable Me 2” “Pacific Rim” and “Now You See Me.”

Charts for top import and local films once again underlined the significant difference in taste between the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese markets. In 2013 Hong Kong audiences displayed a continued aversion for mainland Chinese movies.

China’s top film of 2013 “Journey To The West” was the year’s eleventh best-scoring title, but only the third best Chinese language film of 2013 in Hong Kong. With US$3.66 million (HK$28.4 million) it was anyway directed by Hong Kong-born Stephen Chow.

The Grandmaster,” another significant China-Hong Kong co-production, was the China-born, Hong Kong-based auteur’s best ever showing at the Hong Kong box office with a take of HK$21.3 million.

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