You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chinese Box Office Set for More Explosive Growth

Top market for 'Pacific Rim, 'Cloud Altas'

China’s appetite for movies — both American and local — is far from being satisfied, setting up the Chinese box office for more explosive growth in coming years.

That was the overriding sentiment expressed at Saturday night’s “China’s Entertainment Industry: The Next Chapter” panel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel as part of the awards ceremonies for the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition.

“I don’t think it’s quite registered in Hollywood how important China will be,” noted moderator Robert Cain, a partner in production company Pacific Bridges.

Cain predicted that the the Chinese box office will be double the U.S. box office within 10 to 15 years.

SEE ALSO: China Box Office Worth $5 Billion to Studios by 2017

“There’s an immediacy to the hunger of the Chinese audience for films,” noted Michael Andreen, veteran Hollywood exec who became CEO of Beijing-based Le Vision Pictures earlier this year.

The surging Chinese box office was up 36% in the first half of this year to $1.79 billion, and it’s seen impressive grosses for homegrown films such as “Tiny Times,” “Journey to the West,” “So Young” and “Lost in Thailand,” which has topped $200 million.

Chinese audiences are also offering solid support to U.S. films — so much so that China was the world’s top box office market for “Pacific Rim” ($112 million vs. $101 million in the U.S.), “Jurassic Park 3D” ($56 million vs. $45 million in the U.S.) and “Cloud Atlas” ($27.7 million vs. $27 million in the US).

Christopher DeHau Lee, whose Dreams of Dragon Pictures  noted that “Cloud Atlas” was able to achieve its gross in China despite opening three months after the U.S. release — meaning that pirated versions were widely available by then. Chinese censors also cut more than half an hour of the film.

“That’s quite a feat for a film that most people didn’t understand,” Lee noted. “It really is a spectacular film. It really gives the audiences what they want, and it has one of China’s biggest stars in Zhou Xun.”

Bennett C. Pozil of East West Bank, who was involved in financing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in 2000, said he’s hopeful that American audiences of the new Chinese films from young directors. “They are as good as anything we are turning out here,” he added.

Veteran producer Sid Ganis agreed. “In terms of storytelling, the Chinese know what they’re doing,” he noted.

Ganis, the former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, recently helped broker a deal for Raleigh Studios to manage the massive Wuxi Studio project outside of Shanghai — which is aimed at drawing Hollywood productions when it’s completed.

Wall Street analyst Jessica Reif Cohen recently noted that BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research estimates the Chinese box office could yield $5 billion in value potential for Hollywood studios by 2017 vs. approximately $2.2 billion today, including imported and local productions (with this figure potentially doubling under further relaxed regulatory conditions).

Saturday’s event concluded with Galen Tong receiving the $15,000 grand prize for his script “The Monkey King,” set amid the Boxer Rebellion.

More Film

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Unveils Four More French Originals, 'Gims,' 'Anelka,' 'Move,' 'Of Earth And Blood'

    As it prepares to open a fully-staffed office in France and ramp up its investment in local originals, Netflix has unveiled three new documentaries, “Move” (working title), “Gims” (working title), and “Anelka” (working title), and the feature film “Of Earth And Blood” while at Series Mania in Lille. Announced during a panel with Netflix’s commissioning [...]

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content