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For China’s distribs, and for many in the industry, the challenge this year has been to reap the rewards of a booming film biz, which is seeing major expansion as more and more cinemas are built.

It’s the kind of complaint their colleagues in other markets would love to report.

PolyBona, one of the country’s few independent distributors, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and expects to mark its anni with a near 100% increase in B.O., reflecting the overall robustness of the market.

“Last year, China’s total box office was 4.3 billion yuan ($636 million). I expect this number will be 6 billion ($880 million) in 2009, up almost by 40%. Within five years, I believe this number will be 20 billion ($2.9 billion); 20 billion means that the 400 million people in mainland cities would watch two to three films per year. This is absolutely possible,” PolyBona prexy Yu Dong told local media recently. “The goal is to make PolyBona China’s answer to Paramount. We have already launched 16 film projects to the public this year. Those films will deal with different themes, ranging from comedy, action, romance, epic and so on. And now we are also planning new projects.”

CINEMA STATS

Total 2008 box office: $636 million

Total 2008 releases: 426

Biggest indie hit: “Red Cliff” ($47 million)

Local breakout for 2009: “The Great Cause of China’s Foundation”

PICKUPS:

  • “Ashes of Time Redux” (Enlight Media)

  • “Corrupt All Cops” (PolyBona)

  • “John Rabe” (Huayi Brothers)

  • “The City of Life and Death” (China Film Group)

  • “Red River” (Yindu Online)