China Passes Japan to Become World’s No. 2 Movie Market

15 May

Chinese movie fans led worldwide cinema sales ahead 6% to a record $34.7 billion last year, as the world’s most-populous nation passed Japan to become the No. 2 film market.

Movie-goers in China increased their box-office spending by 36% to $2.7 billion last year, according to new year-end statistics released by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Washington-based trade group.

The growth puts China behind only the U.S. and Canada, where fans increased spending by 6% last year to a combined $10.8 billion, according to the trade group. In Japan, previously the second-largest market, revenue rose 4.3% to $2.4 billion, the MPAA said.

Policy changes in China have increased the number of foreign films that can be released in the country, Mr. Dodd said. The former U.S. senator, a Connecticut Democrat, also said he has shared his concerns with Chinese officials over rules that keep U.S. films from being shown during “blackout” periods to help local productions. “We’ve raised concerned about that to the highest authorities,” Mr. Dodd said. “While it’s vastly improved, there’s always going to be bumps in the road.”

Four movies collected more than $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales last year: “The Avengers,” at $1.51 billion; “Skyfall,” at $1.11 billion, “The Dark Knight Rises,” at $1.08 billion; and “The Hobbit,” at $1.01 billion.

The results underline the gains that Hollywood stands to make by tailoring its product for the Chinese market. A report last year by Ernst & Young suggested that at the current rate of expansion, the Chinese box office wasset to pass the US in seven years. Will we therefore be seeing more chinese style films emerging from Hollywood in the near future?

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