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Chinese flock to cinemas during Spring Festival

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-04 21:10
BEIJING -- Traditional Spring Festival celebrations include firecrackers, family reunions and temple fairs, but today it might be worth adding cinema to the list.

Chinese cinemas posted a record of 3.347 billion yuan (about $487 million) in ticket sales during the seven-day holiday, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, according to industry figures.

China's box office sales also set a single-day record on Jan. 28, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, at 805 million yuan.

The strong figures came after China registered weak growth in box office sales in 2016, when 45.712 billion yuan was reported, or a 3.73 percent annual growth.

HOT MARKET

As cinemas sprout up nationwide, with the number of screens exceeding 40,000, going to the movies has become a popular holiday pastime.

Full cinemas were found in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also in smaller cities across the country.

Wu Xiaoqi, 26, chose to spend half a day with her cousins in a cinema near her home in southwest China's Chongqing municipality when the holiday was drawing to its end.

"We were hanging out and then decided to see a movie since it was a good way to kill time," said Wu, who works in Beijing.

After watching "Kung-Fu Yoga," an action starring Jackie Chan, they decided to stay at the cinema.

"We had a lot of spare time then and my cousins were interested in the story of 'Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back,' so we stayed in the theater to watch it," Wu said.

Directed by Hark Tsui and partly scripted by Stephen Chow, the fantasy-action tells the story of a monk bringing his three disciples to the west, a story immortalized in the Chinese classic novel "Journey to the West."

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