While the Domestic market has been enjoying a terrific summer season of moviegoing, the box office in China has also broken records this summer. This is impressive because a very small percentage of the overall box office in China this year has come from Hollywood titles.
The most popular movies in China this year have been locally produced titles, including LOST IN THE STARS, NO MORE BETS, and CREATION OF GODS: KINGDOM OF STORMS.
This year’s achievement by China’s film industry is remarkable for many reasons. Unlike in past years when interest in local Chinese films was boosted artificially because of selective bans by government censors on Hollywood titles, this summer all of Hollywood’s largest films have been allowed in Chinese theatres.
The most popular U.S. blockbusters have simply underperformed with Chinese audiences, with only MEG 2: THE TRENCH registering significant results with over $100M in Chinese ticket sales. Not coincidentally, MEG2 was co-produced with a Chinese film company.
This summer’s bumper box office in China comes despite a struggling economy, weighed down by slumping real estate and high unemployment. Veterans of the exhibition are not surprised, however, since moviegoing has proven itself to be a largely recession-proof form of entertainment, with its low cost and local access.