×

China Box Office Growth Slows to 9% in 2018, Hits $8.9 Billion

China’s total box office revenue grew 9% in 2018 to $8.87 billion (RMB60.98 billion). The rate of expansion was slower than the year before, when it hit 13.5%, state media and government reports said. But the country still met its government-set 2018 box office target of RMB60 billion yuan in ticket sales on Dec. 29.

Chinese-language films brought in $5.53 billion (RMB37.8 billion) in 2018, making up 62% of the total box office, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing data from the country’s State Film Administration. Three huge homegrown hits alone accounted for 17% of the total. In 2017, Chinese films accounted for 54% of the box office. China produced 1,082 films in 2018, up from 970 the year before, though not all received theatrical releases.

China is the world’s second-largest theatrical movie market, and is widely expected to surpass North America in coming years. However, the uneven growth of recent years has undone numerous past forecasts of when that might happen.

China now boasts the world’s most screens and continues to build new cinemas, albeit at a slower rate than in previous boom years. Chinese companies opened 9,303 new screens in 2018, bringing its total to 60,079 nationwide, Xinhua said. The number of new openings is marginally down from 2017, when 9,597 new screens were put up.

The top-performing films at the box office last year were local hits “Operation Red Sea,” “Detective Chinatown 2”, and “Dying to Survive,” which brought in $532 million (RMB3.65 billion), $496 million (RMB3.4 billion), and $452 million (RMB3.1 billion), respectively. Together, the three accounted for 17% of total annual box office intake.

The top-grossing foreign film was “Avengers: Infinity War” with $349 million (RMB2.39 billion), coming in fifth overall for the year after local romantic comedy “Hello Mr. Billionaire,” a loose remake of the 1985 comedy “Brewster’s Millions” that earned $372 million (RMB2.55 billion).

Analysts said that word-of-mouth became a decisive force at the box office this year. It catapulted dark horse films including “Dying to Survive,” “Project Gutenberg” and “A Cool Fish” to seemingly unlikely box office success.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 4127_D015_00199_RC(l-r) Laura Carmichael stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Beats 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo: Last Blood' on Thursday Night

    “Downton Abbey,” the movie continuation of the hit TV series centering on the Crawley family, has won Thursday previews with $2.1 million from 2,800 North American locations. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” has launched with $1.5 million in previews, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: Last Blood” scooped up $1.3 million at nearly 2,900 [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renee Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

  • Les Miserables

    Ladj Ly's Cannes Prize-Winner 'Les Miserables' Is France's Oscar Submission

    Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race. In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won [...]

  • David Kehrl neuer Head of Acquisitions

    'Resident Evil's' Constantin Names Acquisitions, International Co-Production Chief

    David Kehrl is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor, as the head of acquisitions and international co-production. He will report to Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board at Constantin Film, which produces the “Resident Evil” movies. Starting in February, Kehrl will be responsible for the acquisition of international theatrical [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content