The market share held by Chinese-made films has dropped by about 12 per cent this year and now accounts for just 41.4 per cent of all ticket sales on the mainland - a development regulators attribute to the increased access granted to Hollywood films as a result of China's commitments to the WTO.
Tian Jin, vice-director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said yesterday local film studios earned 13.27 billion yuan (HK$16.35 billion) from the 638 films they released in the first 10 months of the year - up 40 per cent from the same period last year.
But he added that domestic studios lost a major market share they had held for years, after China and the US signed a memorandum of understanding in February to give US film studios significantly more access to the mainland market. "But this also indicates that the Chinese government has stood by the commitments it made upon its entry into the WTO and that channels for foreign films … are unimpeded," Tian said.
Under the agreement, China must allow an additional 14 movies - filmed in either 3-D or Imax format - to be shown on the mainland each year, on top of the previous cap of 20 US films.
And for their movies shown on the mainland, US studios can now collect roughly 25 per cent of box office proceeds after costs are deducted - an increase from about 13.5 to 17.5 per cent before the agreement.