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Comedy-related films account for 1/2 reflecting the low-age trend of audience. Share of imported film achieves the lowest value indicating that films meeting local requirements will be more popular. Box office performance of summer vacation movies shows differentiation of 20% to 80%. It turns out that film with good performance both on box office returns and public praise is rare and precious. China’s movie box office returns achieve a new highest value. According to the data of Film Fund Office of State Administration of Press, Radio, Film and Television, China’s movie box office returns 2015 were up to RMB40.05 billion by the evening of December 3. It’s predicted by experts that China’s movie box office returns will exceed USA’s in 2017 and will be up to RMB100 billion by the end of “the 13th Five Year Plan”.


Monster Hunt

In the list of TOP10 films based on box office returns, there are six domestic films including Monster Hunt, Lost in Hong Kong, Goodbye Mr. Loser, A Hero or Not, The Man from Macao 2 and Monkey King: Hero is Back. And the four imported films are Fast & Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation.

In the six domestic films, five ones except for Monkey King: Hero is Back which is an animated film are related to comedy. Some of them are pure comedy or featured with happiness of the reunion. It indicates that audience prefers entertaining and humorous films because of the low-age trend of them and life stress. Although insiders have mixed response, comedy and youth film are still the main force for box office returns. Literary film or movie with profound theme belongs to niche market. They will hardly have good performance on box office returns even though they can win public praise. And film with good performance both on box office returns and public praise is rare and precious. In RMB40.05 billion of box office returns, domestic films contribute RMB23.72 billion and imported ones contribute RMB16.33. The former accounts for 59.2%. The strengths of domestic films will extend because New Year films will be released in December which is a golden month for domestic films to winning box office returns. On the contrary, imported films die down in December.

Based on data of box office survey agencies, in the first 11 months of 2015, monthly box office returns are above RMB2.5 billion. July ranks top with monthly returns of RMB5.5 and January, November and March are last three months. In insiders’ opinion, it’s because the imported blockbusters didn’t have good performance. Take November as an example. Imported blockbusters including Spectre, The Hunger Games: Mocking jay-Part 2, The Martian and Everest were on show in turn. But they still didn’t have good performance on box office returns and didn’t rank in Top 20 list.

The competition between domestic film and imported film has been always fierce. Imported film accounted for 51.54% in box office returns in 2012 defeating domestic film. However, in 2013, domestic film got back the market initiative by accounting for 58.65% and maintained the dominant position in 2014 and 2015. Domestic film accounted for 54% in box office returns in 2014. This year, proportion of imported film goes down to the lowest.

In insiders’ opinion, imported film proportion declines because:

Firstly, young audience in small towns is increasing. “Imported film has its main market in large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. However, audience of second and third class cities prefers domestic films because they are related to people’s life and easy to be understood and accepted.” Said Liu Hui, VP of UME.

Secondly, domestic film could meet local market demand and be true to life of young people and middle-income groups. It is the reason why Chinese film is able to defeat Hollywood blockbuster. Audience would like to see earthy films and some imported blockbusters with great visual impact. Those imported films without great visual impact will not have good performance on box office returns.

Thirdly, in recent years, domestic film has various types, commercial film becomes more mature and the whole film market is more inclusive. We have both Monster Hunt which has very good performance on box office returns and The Assassin, The Coffin in the Mountain and Twelve Citizens which are dramatically featured. Those featured films could hardly have opportunities to be shown years ago.

Chinese Film Market

Domestic film has a long way to go.

Although the box office returns is a large value, domestic film is confronted with several issues. We take summer vacation film as an example. Film market earned RMB12.431 billion during the 92-day summer vacation since June 1.

However, in total 92 films, only 14 ones earned over RMB100 million. And the left 85% didn’t have any good performance on returns. We can see that the summer vacation film has a differentiation of 20% to 80% which indicates there is no effective communication way between film producer and audience and also informs us that the success of Chinese film is accidental and its indifference is still certain. Such a brilliant number of RMB40 billion gives us alert more than bright prospect. On the other hand, China’s imported film market will be further even completely open in 2017 to 2018. Obviously, it will be a large stress for domestic film which must be honed to maintain the success status in box office returns.

Beijing Youth Daily

Hu Qiang
Zhi Hongwei
Qian Jun
Professor Xie Fei, Department of Directing of our school, …