Business / Markets

Booming box-offices boost stocks

By CAI XIAO (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-25 10:30

Booming box-offices boost stocks

Moviegoers look at a poster for the film Mermaid at a cinema in Yichang, Hubei province. LIU JUNFENG/CHINA DAILY

Industry analysts are confident that China's listed film and television companies will continue on a high note, after toasting a series of box-office records since the turn of the year.

The latest figures from the country's movie regulator show that over the weeklong Spring Festival and Valentine's Day holiday, takings soared 87 percent compared with last year, to 3.61 billion yuan ($547 million).

Annual cinema revenues for the whole of last year were worth 44.1 billion yuan.

The 2016 box-office bonanza, according to audiences-tracking website as of Wednesday, was mainly the result of three blockbusters-Stephen Chow's Mermaid, which took 2.9 billion yuan, Cheang Pou-soi's The Monkey King 2 (1.1 billion yuan), and Wong Jing's The Man from Macao III (1 billion yuan).

As a result of the ticket surge, said experts, the values of some of the country's leading industry companies have enjoyed healthy rises.

A stock index tracking A-share listed culture and media companies has risen 17.25 percent since Feb 1, to close on Wednesday at 4,061.93.

Shares in Beijing Enlight Media Co Ltd, a major publisher of Mermaid, for instance, closed at 23.8 yuan on Wednesday, giving the company a valuation of 34.9 billion yuan-4.5 percent higher than on February 5, when its market capitalization was 33.4 billion yuan.

Another main title to attract big income (1.7 billion yuan) over the holiday period was action-adventure The Ghouls, which was co-produced by Wanda Media Co Ltd, Huayi Brothers Media Corp and Beijing Enlight Media.

When the movie opened on Dec 18, Huayi shares immediately jumped 7.88 percent on Dec 18 to 44.9 yuan.

After suffering in the market-wide, start-of-year slump, Huayi shares closed at 28.45 yuan on Wednesday, making the company worth 39.5 billion yuan.

Wanda Cinema Line Co Ltd, the property giant's movie subsidiary, has also benefited from the strong box-office showings, with its shares rising from 72.59 yuan on Feb 1 to 80.3 yuan on Tuesday (they were not trading on Wednesday).

"As the Chinese middle class raise their demand for culture and entertainment, and more movie screens are opened, there's no doubt the Chinese film market will continue to break records, and this will of course have a strong knock-on effect on the prices of leading film and television companies," said Huang Guofeng, a senior analyst at Beijing-based Internet consultancy Analysys International.

According to latest estimate by Credit Suisse Research Institute, in October there were 109 million people in China considered middle class.

Figures from Essence Securities Co show there were 31,000 movie screens in China at the end of 2015, a 31.4 percent rise on the previous year, with facilities in small cities increasing far faster than in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and H.

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