Film industry eyes more success after record holiday box office

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-02-22 09:45:12

Film industry eyes more success after record holiday box office

A scene from The Mermaid. [Photo/IC]

Record box office sales in the first week of the Year of the Monkey suggested another explosive year for the Chinese film market, the world's second largest.

Chinese cinemas took 3 billion yuan ($461 million) in ticket sales during the six days of the Lunar New Year holiday. Box office from Feb 8 to 13 was up 67 percent on the same period last year, according to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

On Valentine's Day, which fell on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, ticket sales totaled 580 million yuan, surging by more than 150 percent year on year.

Valentine's Day coming immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday grouped together two of the biggest occasions for cinema-going in one week.

With average daily box office exceeding 500 million yuan and around 100 million people going to cinemas every day, the week saw several records smashed, including single-day ticket sales and the number of films raking in more than 100 million yuan in daily box office.

Modern tastes, more demanding audiences

"Going to the cinema has become a new habit for the Chinese, whether they're in big cities or small towns," said Zhang Yiwu, a literature professor at Peking University.

Liu Jun, a professor with Beijing Film Academy, said people chose going to the cinemas as traditional holiday activities, such as watching new year galas or sampling festival fairs, are losing their appeal.

"People are more satisfied with the movies than by TV programs of spotty quality," Liu added.

All debuting on Feb 8, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and made in China, the week's top three films, sci-fi comedy The Mermaid, comedy-action From Vegas to Macau III, and The Monkey King 2, generated a collective 660 million yuan in ticket sales on their first day of release. That surpassed the single-day record of 425 million yuan set on July 18 by last year's biggest hits Monster Hunt, Jianbin Man and Monkey King: Hero is Back.

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