CHINA / National

Only 10% of films attract audiences
Updated: 2006-04-23 11:11

BEIJING -- Only one in ten films made in China last year attracted an audience, indicating major problems in the domestic cinema market, says an official in charge of film administration.

Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of the film bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), told the on-going 13th Beijing Student Film Festival that only 90 of a record 260 films had been screened in China's cinemas last year.

But even many of those films failed to reach an audience as they were withdrawn the day after release due to a lack of interest, Zhang said.

"There were just over 30 movies that audiences really watched in the cinema last year," he said.

He blamed the inadequate supply of cinemas and screens, citing SARFT figures that show at the end of last year, China had just 1,243 cinema complexes with 2,668 screens owned by 36 cinema companies.

"The number of screens is barely 10 percent of that in the United States, while China's population is close to five times that of the United States," Zhang said.

Many Chinese filmmakers lack money to promote their films after production, Zhang said, while many Chinese simply prefer to stay at home and watch television.

"We're endeavoring to bring more Chinese-made films to the domestic market," he said.

The bureau was formulating policies to allow more domestic and foreign capital to invest in the building and renovation of cinemas, he said.

The second measure was to develop the market outside the mainstream cinema chains, which concentrated on big cities. "Movies are almost unavailable in many undeveloped cities where there are few cinemas," he said.

The bureau was boosting the number of mobile cinemas in rural areas, campuses, factories and mining areas and seeking more film broadcast media, such as the Internet, television and audiovisual products by helping strengthen film makers' copyright awareness and fight against piracy, he said.

"I also hope our film investors and makers consider both production and sale at the planning stages of a movie." he said.