A remarkable cinematic odyssey
Over the past decade, both movie theaters and cinema screens experienced exponential growth. Currently, there are over ten thousand movie theaters with an average of six cinema screens. Among 48 cinema chains, Dadi Digital, China Digifilm, China Film Southern, and Beijing Hongliyu operated the most theaters in 2018. However, Wanda Cinema Line ranked first in terms of box office revenue. Since 2016, the ticket sales volume in all cinema chains has exceeded 1.3 billion, and the number is growing steadily. In comparison to the U.S. movie market, the average ticket prices are much lower in China. It suffices to say that there is still plenty of room to grow in this dragon market.
Big challenge to hold appeal
Hollywood studios are eager to grab a slice of China's fast-growing box office market. However, the government only grants a small number of slots for distribution to foreign films. Imported films are facing serious competition with domestic productions, which accounted for 80 percent of the market share. In fact, local studios have enhanced their competitiveness, content quality and variety. Many latest releases have been well-received among Chinese moviegoers. In 2019, the two top domestic productions - animation film Ne Zha and sci-fi movie The Wandering Earth, grossed around five billion yuan each. Aiming to achieve international success, more funding has been invested in the Chinese film industry. With production costs over 100 million U.S. dollars, yet the two Chinese blockbusters in 2018, Monster Hunt 2 and Asura, struggled to find footing in the global marketplace.