The Lunar New Year holiday began in China earlier this week, running from February 1 through 15. Traditionally, this period is filled with relaxation, family time and recreation, including a strong bump at the box office.
This year’s number one movie is THE BATTLE AT LAKE CHANGJIN II, the second film in a series that began last year. The original LAKE CHANGJIN brought in over $900M and became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time. This year’s sequel has already earned more than $300M in 5 days. This year, the box office for all films has dropped by 20% from the best-ever results of last year’s Lunar New Year period. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have opened, and local interest in the games may keep box office numbers down.
Over the past two years, China has emerged as the top global box office market, while the U.S. struggled with COVID disruptions. However, many analysts predict that the U.S. will recover in 2022 to regain its number one standing. The prize of being the largest theatrical market carries great significance, both culturally and geopolitically. In fact, the Chinese government has placed limits on Hollywood releases in the Chinese market, while investing to ramp up local production. Even though Hollywood and the U.S. market have begun the new year with a meager film slate and softbox office, this is expected to change with the March 4th opening of THE BATMAN, sparking a rebound in the U.S. box office.