China Box Office Poised To Hit $8.31B In 2017, Regulator Forecasts

Beijing Century Media Culture

Chinese box office is expected to see a strong boost when 2017’s final numbers are tallied: up as much as 20% or more to RMB 55B ($8.31B), according to the state media authority. The growth this year is spurred on by the massive takings of Wolf Warrior 2 and other hits like The Fate Of The Furious and the current Never Say Die. A ticketing fee factored into the totals doesn’t hurt either.

The figures were unveiled by SAPPRFT Vice Minister, Zhang Hongsen, at a press conference at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party on Friday, Reuters reports.

Growth had slowed severely in 2016, to just 3.7% (RMB 45.7B/$6.58B) after a record 2015 had surged 48.7%.

This summer, Wolf Warrior 2 had a staggering run from late July through September. The Wu Jing-helmed pic grossed $863M along the way and ultimately passed Avatar for the 2nd biggest single-market gross ever (behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ domestic take). The patriotic pic has been submitted by China as its entry for the Foreign Language Oscar race.

Also zooming was Universal’s The Fate Of The Furious with $393M to become the biggest import ever in the market. Currently behind it for the year is Never Say Die, a local comedy that opened during the recent National Day Holiday period and which has taken $293M to date.

A roughly 7% ticketing fee is included in box office figures this year which has helped to boost the numbers. This is new in 2017 and the general consensus has been to report the whole rather than strip that fee out so as to maintain a standard baseline. Overall, if SAPPRFT’s figures stand, the increase in local currency at this year’s turnstiles would be 20.3% with 26.3% in dollar terms.

In 2017 thus far, 19 films have already crossed $100M in the PROC. In 2016, 20 movies got to the threshold throughout the full calendar year.

But talk at today’s press conference wasn’t all about numbers. Per Reuters, Sun Zhijun, Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party Central Committee, said films should have social and “educational” benefits, not just make money. “We cannot take market share, distribution figures, box office and audience ratings as the sole standard. We cannot be the slave of the market and led by the nose.”

This weekend sees Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle start its local run. The first film did about $75M in the Middle Kingdom.

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