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Asia Minute: China’s Boffo Box Office of 2015


2015 was a record year at the movies. In the United States, box office sales topped 11-billion dollars. And it was also a record-setting year in China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Here’s a statistic any business would like: annual growth of 49%.  That’s what happened to ticket sales for movies in China during 2015.  Government figures released Thursday show box office receipts of nearly 7-billion dollars last year - up from about one and a half billion dollars just five years ago.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes industry veterans who estimate China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest movie market by the end of 2017, and there are some other numbers that are capturing the attention of executives in Tinseltown.

In 2014, nearly half of ticket sales in China were for Hollywood movies.  A year later, it’s a little more than 38%.  Last year, three US movies were in China’s top ten, all of them action sequels: Furious Seven, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Jurassic World.  That’s down from 2014, when American films made up half of China’s top ten.

The Beijing government only allows 34 foreign films to be shown in the country each year.  The next big date on China’s movie calendar is a week from Saturday - opening day for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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