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Domestic films surge in H1

Updated: 2013-07-02 06:18
By Huang Ying ( China Daily)
Domestic films surge in H1

The box office revenue of domestic films more than doubled year-on-year in the first half of the year, beating imported movies for the first time in five years, according to a report by EntGroup Consulting, a Beijing-based entertainment industry consultancy.

In the first six months, 146 films were screened, and 117 of them were domestic.

As of June 23, movies had generated 10.3 billion yuan ($1.68 billion) in box office revenue, up 27 percent year-on-year. Domestic productions contributed 6.47 billion yuan, grabbing a market share of 63 percent.

Foreign movies' ticket sales slumped 26.8 percent year-on-year to 3.8 billion yuan, the report said.

"Ever since the huge success of the low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand, which was released in December, Chinese viewers' enthusiasm and expectations for domestic film productions have jumped," said Huang Ting, industry analyst with EntGroup.

Of the 10 highest-grossing films in the market to date, four of the six domestic ones were screened during the first half, including Stephen Chow's Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons and actress-turned-director Zhao Wei's directorial debut To Our Youth That Is Fading Away.

The first movie raked in 1.24 billion yuan and the latter reeled in more than 700 million yuan.

"The quality improvement has been the most critical element in leading domestic films to surpass imported productions in terms of box office revenue," said Huang Qunfei, general manager of Beijing New Film Association Co Ltd, one of China's largest theater chains.

Domestic studios' new system of structured production plans also makes their filmmaking process more scientific and the utilization of resources more rational, which is conducive for the quality improvement of their movies and their business performance, Huang Ting said.

Huayi Brothers Media Corp, one of the leading film corporations in the country, began releasing its new movie plan in 2011.

In mid-June this year, during the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival, the company announced that it will screen 15 films this year and next.

Bona Film Group, a Nasdaq-listed private film producer and distributor, also released its new movie plan for the second half of 2013 and next year during the festival, which involves 10 productions.

"Making plans for filmmaking instead of coming up with a single one on a sudden impulse demonstrates that China's film companies are maturing and have a long-term vision in decision-making," Huang Ting said.

"But I think the situation would be more positive for imported movies as July begins, which heralds the coming of the summer vacation - one of the busiest seasons for the film market in the year," Huang Qunfei said.

The upcoming Hollywood blockbusters include Fast & Furious 6 and Pacific Rim.

"However, the big picture for the year has already been set," he said, meaning that domestic productions will dominate the market this year.