In October, China’s state media authority predicted box office growth of as much as 20% or more across the full year, landing at an estimated RMB 55B ($8.3B) in what would be a record take for the massive market. With a month and a half to go in 2017, Middle Kingdom turnstiles clicked past RMB 50B ($7.53B) on Monday, the first time the market has ever exceeded that benchmark, according to SAPPRFT.
Local reports say that as of 6:57PM on Monday night local time, a total of 1.45B moviegoers had attended cinemas in 2017 so far, a 15% increase on 2016. Last year’s box office saw a severe deceleration in growth, to just 3.7% (RMB 45.7B/$6.58B) after a record 2015 had surged 48.7%.
This year has been propelled by the success of local title Wolf Warrior 2 with takings of about $868M at home. Although there are only four Chinese films in the Top 10, and seven in the Top 20, WW2‘s outsize grosses have thus far pushed local market share to 52.4%. The patriotic pic has been submitted by China as its entry for the Foreign Language Oscar race.
The No. 1 Hollywood movie in the market this year, and the highest-grossing import of all time, remains The Fate Of The Furious at $393M.
In 2017 thus far, 21 films have crossed $100M in the PROC. In 2016, 20 movies got to the threshold throughout the full calendar year.
A roughly 7% ticketing fee is included in box office figures this year which has helped push all totals skywards. 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.
The growth is truly staggering when looking at historical data. In 2010, before the quota floor was upped to allow for more studio movies into the market, box office was in the RMB 10B range with 2013 (after the 2012 contract expanded studio play and revenue sharing) at over RMB 20B and so on.
Imported films still to come in 2017 include Coco, Darkest Hour, Paddington 2 and 47 Meters Down. Also on deck are John Woo’s Manhunt and Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White which both debuted in Venice; Yuen Woo Ping’s The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia; Jackie Chan-starrer Bleeding Steel; and Chen Kaige’s Legend Of The Demon Cat, among others during the typical end-of-year blackout.