The film industry is hoping that the improving economy will help movie workers prosper after a slump lasting for years. Woody Tsung Wan-chi, chief executive of the Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Motion Picture Industry Association, said that with unemployment falling and the retail sector booming, more people would go to cinemas. 'Spending power is getting stronger and people now seem happier and are in the mood to spend more on entertainment,' he said. 'I hope the movie industry can seize the chance to make more good films and investors can pour in more money now that the sector's future seems brighter.' The number of Hong Kong productions dropped from 55 in 2005 to 51 last year. The industry produced about 300 films a year at its peak in the early 1990s. The 51 releases last year took HK$280 million at the box office, while 180 foreign films netted HK$620 million. Fearless, starring Jet Li, was the most successful local film, taking HK$30 million. In 2005, the 55 Hong Kong films released earned HK$280 million while 189 foreign films grossed HK$620 million. Initial D raked in HK$37 million that year. Mr Tsung said: 'It has been a very difficult year, as many movie workers are out of jobs. New talents have no opportunity to exercise their creativity and investors have no confidence in the industry.' But he predicted more joint productions by Hong Kong and mainland movie companies in the coming years. 'This is an increasing trend ... China is such a big market and mainland consumers are growing not only in numbers, but in spending power too.' Mr Tsung pointed out that the government's efforts in combating piracy had also paid off. In March, the city will host the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, and Mr Tsung hoped the event would bring investors and creative talent together.