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Box Office News

According to official government statistics released yesterday, China’s box office grew 36.2% from RMB8.07 billion (US$1.31 billion) in the first half of 2012 to RMB11.0 billion (US$1.79 billion) in the first six months of 2013. Domestic films were the major beneficiary.

Chinese films secured a market share of 62.3% in the first half of 2013, up from 35% one year ago. At RMB6.85 billion (US$1.12 billion), that represents a 144% year-on-year revenue growth for local films at the expense of foreign films, including Hollywood titles, which declined 21.3% to RMB4.14 billion (US$674 million).

However, the growth of the domestic market was dependent on a small number of hits. The ten highest grossing domestic films — of 117 Chinese films or China co-production films released in the first half of 2013 — accounted for two-thirds of domestic box office income.

Four of the top ten grossing films in the first half of the year are domestic: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西游 降魔篇 (RMB1.24 billion), So Young 致我們終將逝去的青春 (RMB719 million), American Dreams in China 中國合伙人 (RMB539 million) and Finding Mr. Right 北京遇上西雅圖 (RMB520 million).

Among foreign films, only Iron Man 3 (RMB751 million) broke RMB500 million (US$81.5 million), the new milestone for a blockbuster hit in China’s dynamic film market. There is a single animation in the top ten, The Croods (RMB393 million), which had an extended run on local screens.

Despite the decline of foreign films at the box office, China remains a strong market for Hollywood films. G.I. Joe: Retaliation ‘s RMB338 million (US$55.1 million) gross accounted for over 20% of its total international revenue. China was also the best performing territory for Iron Man 3, accounting for 15% of its international income.

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