In the first five months of 2014, Chinese box office hit 10.2B yuan, or about $1.63B, with local movies dominating the market at 56% through May 21. Watchdog SAPPRFT released the figures today via state news agency Xinhua. Those numbers have led analysts to predict total 2014 box office could top out at a staggering 28B yuan, or around $4.49B. That would rep a 24.7% change from 2013 which ended with $3.6B. I say staggering because the numbers really do look wild, but a 24.7% increase would be slightly lower than the 27.5% jump from 2012 to 2013.
It’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with 2013 based on the figures released today given that last year the authority provided half-year numbers in July. However, it’s worth noting that it took six months in 2013 for box office to cross the 10B yuan mark. This year, it was less than five. In the first six months of 2013, Chinese films also ruled the box office at about 61%, grossing $1.1B in the semester which had total takings of $1.79B. This was a reversal from the whole of 2012 when, much to the chagrin of SAPPRFT (then SARFT), market share had fallen to under 50% for the first time in four years.
But U.S. movies are still doing big business in the world’s No. 2 box office territory thus far this year with five of the Top 10 hailing from Hollywood. The No. 1 movie in China to date in 2014 is the Cheang Pou-soi directed The Monkey King. The 3D and IMAX fantasy film that stars Donnie Yen opened with a record breaking first day of $20M back in January. It has grossed about $166.8M. In the No. 2 slot is Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a gross through this weekend of $116.3M. Next up is Dad, Where Are We Going?, based on the popular local reality show, with about $111.5M. The Man From Macau, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, My Old Classmate, Need For Speed, Beijing Love Story and Despicable Me 2 round out the Top 10.
Today sees the release of X-Men: Days Of Future Past which is expected to do strong business in China, aided by having local star Fan Bingbing in the cast. Last year’s The Wolverine, the first of the X-Men movies to enter the market, did $40.2M in box office making it the film’s strongest overseas territory. Godzilla stomps in on June 13 with about 145 IMAX 3D runs, and a likely monstrous opening.
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