×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Box Office Crawls to 3% Gain in 2016

UPDATED: Gross theatrical box office in China grew by just 3% in 2016, reaching RMB45.3 billion in local currency terms. That compared with RMB43.9 billion in 2015.

In U.S. dollar terms the data points to a 3.5% drop in the value of the Chinese market from $6.76 billion (using end of 2015 exchange rates) to $6.52 billion (using end of 2016 rates.)

Those numbers are a far cry from the 49% surge enjoyed in 2015 and requires a sharp revision to forecasts of when China’s numbers will overtake North America. The 2017 target figure, so widely used at the beginning of the year, now seems not only wildly optimistic, but also to have misunderstood the dynamics of the market.

Full year data from tracking and consultancy firm Ent Group – likely to be corroborated in the next couple of days by official statistics – show that ticket sales increased by close to 9% over the year. They reached 1.37 billion in 2016, for an average of one ticket per head of population, compares with 1.26 billion in 2015.

Data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television published on Monday, gave figures of RMB45.7 billion for 2016 and said that growth was 3.7%.

Popular on Variety

The market share for Chinese film was 58.3% (down from 61.6% in 2015), while that of imported titles was 38.1%. Chinese films earned RMB26.7 billion in 2016, compared with RMB27.1 billion in 2015. Imported films grossed a combined RMB19 billion, up from RMB16.9 billion n 2015.

SAPPRFT said that Chinese film production reached 944 titles in 2016. Their grosses outside China totaled $550 million (RMB 3.83 billion) in 2016, an increase of 38%.

Some 1,612 cinema complexes were opened in 2016. That lifted the nationwide screen count to 41,179. That was up from 31,627 at the end of 2015, and points to an increase of increase of 9,552 screens in 2016. SAPPFRT says that the 2016 figure gives China the largest number of screens in any country in the world. However, data from the Motion Picture Association for 2015 showed North America (U.S. and Canada) with 43,661.

The average ticket price slipped from RMB34.8 in 2015 to RMB32.9 in 2016, according to the Ent Group data. That reflects the dilution of ticket prices as the theatrical circuit has expanded into less affluent towns and cities, often described as being in Tier 3 and Tier 4.

The Ent Group data shows that seven months in 2016 delivered lower scores than the same month in 2015. The last four months of the year were all down.

Far and away the year’s top film was Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid,” which grossed RMB3.39 billion and was watched by more than 92 million people in theaters. Second place went to Disney’s “Zootopia” with a gross of RMB1.53 billion. “The Great Wall,” which is still on release, was just shy of the symbolic RMB1 billion mark at Dec. 31 and ranked tenth for the year.

The top ten includes three films that were made as Hong Kong-China co-productions, two that were U.S.-China co-productions, two that were wholly Chinese and three that were U.S. imports.

More Film

  • Colombia’s ‘Valley of Souls’ Wins Marrakech’s

    Colombia’s ‘Valley of Souls’ Wins Marrakech’s Etoile d’Or

    The 18th edition of the Marrakech Intl. Film Festival awarded the Etoile d’Or for best film to Colombia’s “Valley of Souls,” directed by Nicolás Rincón Gille. In his acceptance speech the director said: “Colombia is a country that people know very little about. But in this film I try to offer a glimpse of the [...]

  • SAFF Winners 2019

    ScreenSingapore: Philippines Projects Take Top Prizes at SAFF Market

    Projects from the Philippines took away the top prizes awarded Friday at the conclusion of Screen Singapore’s Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market. The event is part of the Singapore Media Festival. The winners included director J.P. Habac’s musical comedy drama “Golden” about homeless gay seniors who reunite to perform as drag queens to [...]

  • THE FAVOURITE

    'The Favourite' Wins Big At The 32nd European Film Awards

    Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite” scooped the 32nd European Film Awards, winning best film, best comedy and best actress for Olivia Colman who previously won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Anne in the film. “The Favourite” was leading the nominations along with Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” and Roman [...]

  • Ed-Skrein-Erica-Rivas-Fernando-Trueba-Lucia-Puenzo

    Ventana Sur 2019: Big New Titles, Argentina-Mexico, Deals, Trends

    BUENOS AIRES   —  The last few years have caught Ventana Sur – Cannes Festival and Market’s biggest initiative outside France – taking place as the industry debated radical change. This year saw the Latin American industries in a state of  transformation themselves, wracked by headwinds – Jair Bolsonaro’s government in Brazil – or looking [...]

  • 'Free Guy' Trailer: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie

    'Free Guy': Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Jodie Comer Star in First Trailer

    The first trailer for Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” premiered Saturday at the CCXP convention in Brazil. Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller and NPC (non-playable character) who discovers he’s living in a video game. In the trailer, hostage situations, buildings being blown up and people shooting guns off in the street is depicted as [...]

  • KARMELE

    Asier Altuna Preps Basque Historical Drama ‘Karmele the Hour of Waking Together’

    Basque cinema is booming, and director Asier Altuna is part of the vanguard leading it forward. The Spanish filmmaker, behind 2005 Youth Award winner “Aupa Etxebeste!” and 2015 Best Basque Film “Amama” at the San Sebastián Intl. Film Festival, attended this year’s Ventana Sur Proyecta sidebar with his next project, “Karmele, the Hour of Waking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content