Monster Hunt Raman Hui
Courtesy of Edko Films

China’s theatrical box office grew by 49% in 2015, propelled by the huge success of local movies, according to nearly full year figures from the State Administration for Press Publishing Radio Film & Television.

In an announcement made shortly before the year end, the regulator said that gross box office had exceeded RMB44 billion, an increase of 48.7% in local currency terms.

The value of that expressed in dollar terms represents 40% growth — from US$4.82 billion in 2014 to US$6.78 billion in 2015 – reflecting a weakening of the Chinese currency over the past year.

Local film “Monster Hunt,” a hybrid of live action and CGI became the all time top grossing film in China with a total of $391 million that was partially achieved with the help of a prolonged summer blackout period. It scored marginally more than “Fast & Furious 7,” which in turn benefited from investment from China Film Group. “Lost in Hong Kong,” came third with a total of $253 million.

Admissions grew by 51% from 830 million in 2014 to 1.26 billion in 2015, roughly one ticket sold per head of population in the world’s most populous nation. The figures imply a fractional weakening of the mean ticket price, reflecting the mix of films on offer and the ongoing expansion of the cinema landscape to include more theaters in smaller towns and cities.

Data showed the number of cinema screens ion commercial operation grew by a third, from a total of 23,600 in 2014 to 31,627 at the end of 2015. Some 8,027 theater screens were opened in the year, or an average of 22 per day.

Propelling all of these elements was the huge success of Chinese-made and Chinese-language movies. They enjoyed a 61.6% share of the total box office, according to the SAPPRFT data.

Chinese movies saw their gross revenues grow by a stunning 67% from RMB16.2 billion in 2014 to RMB27.1 billion in 2015.

Imported films (largely Hollywood) enjoyed 26% growth in local currency terms, with gross revenues increasing from RMB13.4 billion to RMB16.9 billion. In U.S. dollar terms that was a 20% increase, from US$2.17 billion reported in 2014 to US$2.61 for 2015.

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