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China Box Office Climbs 36% in First Half of 2013

Two Chinese films exceed $100 million; Hollywood retreats

BEIJING — China’s B.O. surged 36% to RMB10.99 billion ($1.79 billion) in the first half of 2013, riding high on a powerful performance by homegrown pics, according to data from the government org, the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Ticket sales for Chinese films increased 144% to $1.12 billion, while imported films posted $670 million in B.O., down 21%.

The data shows why Hollywood is so keen on China right now. China is already the second biggest film market in the world, and is on track to overtake the U.S. in the next five years or so.

B.O. champ in the first half of this year was Stephen Chow’s “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons” (pictured), which took $200 million by the end of June, followed by “Iron Man 3” at $123 million and “So Young” at $117 million.

Of the top ten highest-grossing films, four were Chinese, accounting for 54% of total revenues in the first half.

The movie data follows a report earlier this week which showed that total revenues from China’s entertainment sector rose 20% last year to $56.7 billion.

Chinese B.O. is on track for a strong performance in the full year — B.O. revenues hit $2.77 billion last year, up 30% from 2011, marking an average annual growth of 34% in the decade between 2002 to 2012.

The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television was formed from an amalgamation of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which was responsible for broadcast media and film, and the General Administration of Press and Publication, which dealt with print media and books.

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