×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Official: China’s B.O. rises 31% to $2.75 billion

83% of pix were Chinese, but took only 48.5% of B.O.

CHENGDU — China’s box office rose 31% to 17.1 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) last year, according to media regulator State Administration of Radio, Film and TV, correcting earlier figures in the local press.

The figure is substantially more than the $2.69 billion reported by People’s Daily last week and attributed to SARFT (Variety, Jan. 4).

China has now overtaken Japan as the top-earning international territory. Japan is estimated to hit about $2.35 billion in 2012, after taking $2.27 billion in 2011. China’s B.O. in 2011 was $2.03 billion.

The data confirms that Chinese pics are suffering in the new environment, which makes it open season for Hollywood in what is still the fastest growing major market in the world. Of the 893 films released, 83% were Chinese films, but they only took 48.5% of the total B.O.

James Cameron’s 3D version of “Titanic” was the best performing foreign pic last year, taking $150 million. “Avatar” still holds the record, after it took $220 million in 2010.

Hollywood movies were boosted in China after the quota of foreign films in Chinese theaters was increased in February from around 20 to 34, including Imax and 3D movies.

Local movies were given a boost late in the year by the low-budget pic “Lost in Thailand,” which became the best performing local film of all time, taking $158.6 million in 2012.

The only other Chinese movies to make the top 10 were “Painted Skin: The Resurrection” and Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodiac 12.”

Film Bureau chief Tong Gang said the data illustrated the challenge facing the local biz. “Telling stories in a Chinese way has not improved, which means we can’t sell overseas,” said Tong.

A total of 3,832 new screens were added to the market last year to total 13,118.

Six cinema chains had takings of more than 600 billion yuan ($96.3 billion), and Wanda became the first chain in China with 2 billion yuan ($320 million) B.O.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • CJ-CGV Cinemas

    CJ CGV Sells $286 Million Stake in Asian Cinema Businesses

    CJ CGV, the Korean movie theaters giant, is to raise $286 million from the sale of a slice of its Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese businesses. The company, which has its own stock market listing and is affiliated to the CJ Group, which includes CJ E&M and CJ Entertainment, said this week that it had sold [...]

  • Taiwanese director Fu Yue

    China, Taiwan in Film Awards Face-off With Roosters, Horses Scheduled on Same Day

    Despite rising political antagonism, China and Taiwan have for years been able to put aside their differences for a night of shared glitz and glamour at the annual Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, known as Asia’s Oscars. But with cross-strait relations at a nadir, that’s about to change.  Chinese-language cinema is set for a showdown the [...]

  • Julia Roberts Harriet Tubman

    Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' Screenwriter Says

    Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role. In a Q&A for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the [...]

  • Atlantics

    Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2020

    Before film critics start summing up the present year at the movies with a deluge of Top 10 lists, Variety gazes into the medium’s future by announcing its annual 10 Directors to Watch — a lineup of filmmaking talents who’ve stood out on the recent festival circuit, or whose movies will soon be hitting screens [...]

  • Napa Valley Film Festival Winners: 'Lucky

    'Lucky Grandma' Wins Napa Valley Film Festival Narrative Feature Prize

    “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion” and “The Nomads” were among the winners of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which ran Nov. 13-17 in various towns in the valley. The winner of the narrative feature was “Lucky Grandma,” presented by ZD Wines, which won a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley. [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra' to Blast Off in China in December

    The Brad Pitt sci-fi blockbuster “Ad Astra” is set to take off in Chinese theaters Dec. 6, more than two months after its U.S. launch. Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays [...]

  • Fred Wolf to Direct 'Love 40'

    Film News Roundup: Fred Wolf to Direct Tennis Rom-Com 'Love 40'

    In today’s film news roundup, Fred Wolf is directing a romantic comedy in New York; Leah Remini, Chinoye Chukwu, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang receive honors; and the topless bar documentary “Red Dog” finds a home. ‘LOVE 40’ Bluewater Lane Productions has brought on Fred Wolf to co-write and direct the romantic comedy “Love 40,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content