×

China Punishes ‘Ip Man 3’ Distributor For Box Office Manipulation

Chinese authorities have punished film distributor Beijing Max Screen for manipulating the box office of recently released “Ip Man 3.”

The company is to be suspended from releasing films for a month, according to a statement from regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

A special panel tasked by SAPPRFT probed the release of “Ip Man 3” which was reported to have earned a gross of over $70 million in its first three days of release. But other cinemagoers and other distributors rapidly cried foul and pointed to manipulation.

According to state news agency Xinhua, Max Screen has now admitted to having bought up $8.61 million (RMB56 million) of tickets to its own film and to have helped create the appearance of 7,600 more screenings, so called ‘ghost screenings,’ that really took place.

SAPPRFT has also given warnings to three online ticketing agencies and to some 73 cinemas, which had participated in the manipulation. Their names will be published on a website.

Box office reporting in China has often been clouded with suspicion, something made possible by the rapid pace of cinema building, incompatible ticketing and reporting systems and simply the vast scale of the business.

However, it is not always clear when it is being manipulated up, in order to inflate a film’s appearance of success and create buzz, or down in order to reduce or avoid revenue sharing and tax payments.

In the case of “Ip Man 3” there was a clear incentive to inflate the figures. The chairman of Max Screen is Shi Jianxing, who is also chairman of Hong Kong-listed firm ShiFang, which in turn has a contract that gives it 55% participation in the theatrical revenues, not net profits, of “Ip Man 3” in mainland China.

“Dozens of cinemas received punishment, ranging from warnings to removal of funding support and business suspension, for box office fraud in 2015” Xinhua said. “Earlier this year, authorities launched a campaign targeting box office misconduct, unlicensed copying and recording of films as well as poor screening quality.”

More Film

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Buddha in Africa

    More than Half of Films at Hot Docs Film Festival Are Directed By Women

    More than half of the films playing at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, are directed by women, the Canadian event said Tuesday. The festival’s 26th edition, which runs April 25-May 5, will screen 234 films, with 54% of the directors being women. In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films receiving their world [...]

  • Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office

    Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office Market Share

    Korean distributors are having to fight ever harder for their share of Korea’s theatrical market share. Threats on the horizon include a slide in the performance of local movies, consolidation, the arrival of new players and the challenge from streaming services. South Korea’s theatrical box office is now bigger than that of France or Germany despite [...]

  • Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in

    Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in Saturated Market

    In 2018, the Korean film business stumbled, as local films made with blockbuster budgets and targeting the usual high seasons of Chuseok and Christmas last year failed to deliver blockbuster earnings.  So Korean distributors have embraced some tactics to enhance their bottom lines.  Genre films “Monstrum,” “Fengshui,” “The Negotiation,” “Take Point,” “Swing Kids” and “Drug King” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content