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Asia Minute: China’s Booming Box Office

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If you saw a movie over the weekend, you’re already part of one of Hollywood’s most important seasons.  The period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s weekend is critical for box office performance. But this year, there’s a twist from overseas.  HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

It’s a big season for Hollywood…and part of the news is coming from China.  Last week, movie ticket sales in China swept past a milestone: 40-billion yuan… with several weeks to go in the year.

That’s the equivalent of 6.3-billion dollars.  And the official Xinhua news agency says it translates to annual growth of 48%.  By comparison, ticket sales in North America were more than 10-billion dollars last year…but the trend is not positive—in fact sales have fallen in three of the past five years.

It’s a very different story in China.  Last month, the head of Asia Pacific operations for the Motion Picture Association of America predicted China will overtake the US as the world’s largest movie market within two years.  The Hollywood Reporter says that so far this year, nearly 60% of China’s movie ticket sales are for home-grown productions.

China’s government limits the number of foreign films that are shown in the country.

Still, four Hollywood imports are among China’s top ten—all sequels: Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.  Another Hollywood sequel is coming.  The latest Star Wars movie will land January 9th.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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