China box office sales rise 36 per cent in 2014: state media

China box office sales rise 36 per cent in 2014: state media
Cinema still: Coming Home starring Chen Daoming and Gong Li.

BEIJING - China's box office sales surged 36 per cent in 2014, state-run media reported Thursday, as the world's second-largest film market after the United States added thousands of screens.

Cinemas took in 29.6 billion yuan (US$4.77 billion) in ticket sales last year with domestic films accounting for a little more than half the total, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Domestic productions made 16.15 billion yuan, or about 55 per cent of the total, as China produced more than 600 movies, Xinhua cited Zhang Hongsen, head of the country's film censor as saying.

China only allows 34 foreign films to be released in the country each year and imposes censorship by cultural authorities who excise content deemed politically sensitive or obscene.

Although Beijing is trying to increase its cultural "soft power" and works to distribute films overseas, Chinese movies only grossed 1.87 billion yuan overseas last year, according to Xinhua.

China added more than 1,000 movie houses and nearly 5,400 screens last year, bringing the total to more than 23,000 screens across the country.

They sold 830 million tickets last year, Xinhua said, up 34.5 per cent year-on-year.

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