Ac­tion film in driver’s seat at box of­fice

US ac­tion movie breaks records as movie maker booms, Huang Ying re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tact the writer at huangy­ing@chi­

The Hol­ly­wood block­buster Fast & Fu­ri­ous 7, also known as Fu­ri­ous 7, swept through movie the­aters in China over the past sev­eral weeks, break­ing a se­ries of box of­fice records.

Re­leased on the Chi­nese main­land on April 12, it had grossed more than 2.4 bil­lion yuan ($370 mil­lion) in ticket sales by May 12, be­com­ing the high­est-gross­ing film ever in the world’s sec­ond­movie mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to data from Ent­Group Con­sult­ing, a Bei­jing­based en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try con­sul­tancy.

The pre­vi­ous record was set by Hol­ly­wood ac­tion scifi movie Trans­form­ers: Age of Ex­tinc­tion, which was re­leased in June and raked 1.97 bil­lion yuan.

In ad­di­tion to its phe­nom­e­nal box of­fice take, Fu­ri­ous 7 has bro­ken more than 30 records in the his­tory of the Chi­nese box of­fice, in­clud­ing sin­gle-day and sin­gle-month records.

Its real-time box of­fice still ranked top among the movies be­ing shown in cine­mas on May 5, with 7.24 mil­lion yuan, ac­cord­ing to piao­fang168. an on­line provider of real-time box of­fice in­for­ma­tion.

Its huge suc­cess can be at­trib­uted to a num­ber of fac­tors that work to­gether, said in­dus­try an­a­lysts.

“A lack of com­pet­ing films in the­aters dur­ing the pe­riod when it was shown, the con­sis­tency in high qual­ity of the se­ries, and the me­mo­rial frenzy in­curred by lead ac­tor’s death, all helped to push it to a great suc­cess in China,” said Peng Kan, re­search and devel­op­ment direc­tor of Leg­end Me­dia, a Bei­jing-based con­sul­tancy.

Paul Walker, one of the lead pro­tag­o­nists of the street- rac­ing ac­tion film se­ries, died aged 40 in a car ac­ci­dent in Santa Clarita, Cal­i­for­nia, on Nov 30, 2013.

Many movie­go­ers flocked to the­aters the mo­ment the film was re­leased in the Chi­nese main­land, in the hope of see­ing Walker on the screen for the last time.

The film’s mar­ket­ing cam­paign also played a role in its rosy per­for­mance in box of­fice rev­enue, said Peng.

A va­ri­ety of so­cial- net­work­ing plat­forms have been ap­plied for the film’s mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with the fo­cus on the lead ac­tor’s death, said Shao Gang, deputy direc­tor of the con­sult­ing busi­ness for the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try at Hori­zon Re­search Con­sul­tancy Group.

“This has at­tracted a crowd of the non-tar­get au­di­ence to the the­aters, and its qual­ity con­tent has in turn pro­pelled the word-of-mouth mar­ket­ing,” said Shao.

But un­like the com­mon opin­ion that the film’s solid fan base in China con­trib­utes to its suc­cess, Shao said that he would rather see it as an­other tri­umph of typ­i­cal Hol­ly­wood com­mer­cial fea­tures. “Fu­ri­ous 7 is a typ­i­cal Hol­ly­wood genre film — it has in­cor­po­rated a se­ries of core com­mer­cial el­e­ments, cou­pled with its great vis­ual im­pact, dense and fast-paced plot, its brand ef­fect has been de­vel­oped to great said Shao.

“The growth in the num­ber of screens na­tion­wide over the past years played a very sig­nif­i­cant role in cre­at­ing such a record in box of­fice tak­ings for this film,” said Liu Han­wen, direc­tor of the Film In­sti­tute Devel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter at the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion.

By the end of 2012, China had 13,118 screens na­tion­wide. By April this year, the fig­ure had surged to about 27,000, said Liu.

Liu at­trib­uted an­other rea­son to the fact that Chi­nese peo­ple have largely de­vel­oped the habit of moviego­ing,

lev­els,” es­pe­cially af­ter most third- and fourth-tier cities in China are in­creas­ingly equipped with cine­mas.

“Watch­ing movies has be­come a ma­jor style of en­ter­tain­ment and leisure for Chi­nese peo­ple. And as the statis­tics can tell, Fu­ri­ous 7 gen­er­ated a sig­nif­i­cant box of­fice on week­ends, when peo­ple go out look­ing for en­joy­ment and re­lax­ation. On its first day, which was a Sun­day, the ticket sales reached 400 mil­lion yuan,” he ex­plained.

The devel­op­ment of mo­bile In­ter­net makes it pos­si­ble for peo­ple who have fin­ished watch­ing the film to share their feel­ings about the movie via so­cial-net­work­ing plat­forms, in­clud­ing Wechat, and mi­cro- blog­ging plat­forms, with their friends.

“This helps to ac­cel­er­ate the spread of in­for­ma­tion about this film, as well as prompt­ing more peo­ple to flock to the­aters,” said Liu, adding that the num­ber of mo­bile In­ter­net users has reached 900 mil­lion in China.

“It won’t take long be­fore this record gets bro­ken by an­other movie, as the depth and width of China’s film mar­ket has de­vel­oped to an ex­tent where a truly high qual­ity movie could beat the ex­pec­ta­tion in box of­fice per­for­mance,” said Liu.

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