THE RISE OF CHINA as the world’s primary box office market

When it comes to the movie business, Hollywood quickly comes to mind, its glitzy glamour and spectacles.

There is little doubt about the fact that Hollywood currently dominates the global commercial film industry. The Dream Factory has towered over cinema for so long – seven decades of cultural dominance – so it’s easy to assume it always will.

It might surprise some to learn this, but there is a rise in the East.

You might have heard that the Chinese economy is struggling, plagued by slowing growth and uncertainty in the stock markets. But there is one industry that is not suffering: the movie business.

The burgeoning Chinese movie industry already is causing a “mass hysteria” in the country with a population of 1.3 billion.

The rise of China as the world’s primary box office market is accelerating rapidly.

A momentous shift in the global cinema market’s balance of economic power is now looming. According to the projections in PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2016-2020, China could overtake the US as the world’s biggest box-office market in revenue terms as early as late 2017.


In February 2015, the Chinese movie industry saw Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid taking a staggering US$485M alone in just three weeks of play, and the Middle Kingdom box office hitting a record 6.87B yuan ($1.05B) for the month. That’s about US$260M bigger than the estimated North American February total of US$790M. This was the first time Chinese turnstiles have out spun those in the U.S. and Canada combined during a single month.

It was then 60 Minutes (CBS) took its first look at the film market with a special feature report “Rising in the East.”

On current projections, the rise of China as the world’s primary box-office market won’t end here. The country’s spending at the box office is forecast to continue to accelerate rapidly – to the extent that by the end the forecast period in 2020, China’s annual take from cinema admissions is expected to total US$15.24bn, some 28.4% ahead of the US’s US$11.87bn.

The widening gap between China and US of the respective compound annual growth rates in box office revenue in the two markets for 2015-2020 are forecast to be 18.96% for China and just 1.23% for the US.

Check out this Australia 60 minutes report (Aug 14, 2016) on Chinawood.


For movie business, it is definitely all eyes on China.


Essential extended readings:

China’s Film Industry: A Blockbuster in the Making

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