China’s box-office revenues for February on track to hit record 3b yuan

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 7:48pm

China’s February box-office revenues hit 2.96 billion yuan (HK$3.75 billion) on Monday midnight, with the expectation of breaching the 3 billion yuan threshold by Tuesday, Chinese technology blog reported.

This would surpass the previous record for mainland China's single-month box-office revenue of 2.56 billion yuan, set in December 2012, Huxiu reported, citing statistics in the Southern Metropolis Daily. It is especially surprising considering that China’s box-office sales in 2007 were only around 3.25 billion yuan in total.

It is believed that a strong run by several domestic titles, including Monkey King, which starred Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen, and Where Are We Going, Dad?, a documentary based on a hit reality show of the same name, has significantly boosted sales in February, Huxiu reported.

As of Sunday, Monkey King had grossed 1.02 billion yuan in sales, becoming the fifth movie to rake in more than one billion yuan in the mainland. The other four were Avatar, domestic comedy Lost in Thailand, Hong Kong actor Steven Chow’s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demon, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Lei Ming, founder and CEO of Beijing-based Amor Entertainment Bigdata, said the months of January and February had seen record sales figures in the past due to the Chinese New Year holiday and the winter break for students.

“When white-collar professionals return to hometowns in second-tier cities to reunite with their families during the Chinese New Year break, they naturally take their parents to watch movies,” Lei said.

Movies able to get the January or February slot are mostly high-quality, expensive productions whose backers are willing to pay a premium in marketing, and this also contributed to their success, he added.

Experts say that China’s film industry is approaching the beginning of a “golden age”. Dalian Wanda Group, after acquiring US cinema chain AMC for US$2.6 billion in 2012, announced in September that it would invest as much as 50 billion yuan to build the world’s largest film and television industry project in the coastal city of Qingdao, the South China Morning Post reported earlier