CHINA - Domestic movies are expected to conquer the Chinese market this year, after being beaten by imported productions for the first time in four years in 2012, industry observers said.
In the first three quarters of the year, China's movie market had total ticket sales of 16.42 billion yuan (S$3.3 billion), up 35 per cent year-on-year, according to official data released by the film bureau under a new administration formed in March, which falls under the auspices of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the State Press and Publication Administration.
The growth this year was mainly attributed to the solid performance of domestic films.
During the period, domestic productions had ticket sales of 9.56 billion yuan, up 94 per cent compared with a year earlier, while imported movies' box-office takings fell 5 per cent year-on-year to 6.86 billion yuan.
So far this year, Chinese films have grabbed a market share of 58 per cent in terms of box office receipts, while the figure for 2012 was just 48.5 per cent.
"The improvement in the quality of the productions is one of the main factors driving this momentum," said Shao Gang, deputy director of consulting for the culture and entertainment industry at Horizon Research Consultancy Group.
Hollywood movies did poorly in the first half and then had a better performance during the summer with blockbusters such as Superman: Man of Steel and Pacific Rim, said Shao.
Pacific Rim ranked fourth in the top-10 list of the highest-grossing movies shown in China in the first three quarters, with total ticket sales of 694.3 million yuan, while Superman: Man of Steel was at the bottom of that list with box-office revenue of 394.6 million yuan.
"I think that for the whole year, domestic movies will dominate the market, because many high-quality Chinese movies have been released, while the number of competitive foreign rivals is far from sufficient this year," said Huang Qunfei, general manager of Beijing New Film Association Co Ltd, one of China's leading theatre chains.