Be re­al­is­tic about film sec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - -- THEP­A­PER.CN

As of Dec 19, the box of­fice rev­enue on the Chi­nese main­land to­taled 43.7 bil­lion yuan ($6.33 bil­lion). Although the an­nual fig­ure will almost cer­tainly ex­ceed last year’s 44.1 bil­lion yuan, it is much lower than the in­dus­try’s 60 bil­lion-yuan pre­dic­tion at the be­gin­ning of this year. The box of­fice rev­enue on the Chi­nese main­land has rock­eted for five con­sec­u­tive years, with an av­er­age an­nual rise of more than 40 per­cent. That’s what led to the pre­dic­tion that it would reach 60 bil­lion yuan this year. But an­tic­i­pat­ing that the dra­matic in­crease in the past would con­tinue into the fu­ture was only a wish­ful think­ing.

The boom was partly caused by govern­ment sub­si­dies, and its en­cour­ag­ing of in­vest­ment in the film in­dus­try. This at­tracted a con­sid­er­able amount of hot money and spec­u­la­tion in search of prof­its, cre­at­ing a box rev­enue bubble.

Growth of this kind is not only un­sus­tain­able, but also harm­ful to the healthy de­vel­op­ment of the in­dus­try.

It is a golden time for the main­land’s film in­dus­try. It has the world’s largest mar­ket with au­di­ences hun­gry for good movies, ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment, am­ple in­vest­ment and in­nu­mer­able op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn from its for­eign coun­ter­parts, as well as many good sto­ries to tell in such a fast devel­op­ing coun­try with such a long his­tory.

It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the ar­ti­fi­cially over­heated mar­ket be­gan to cool. Although no­body doubts that the Chi­nese main­land will have the largest box rev­enue in the world one day, the po­ten­tial of the Chi­nese mar­ket should not be ex­ag­ger­ated.

The ar­rival of that day will only be de­layed if the film in­dus­try does not pro­duce enough good films. The qual­ity of Chi­nese films needs to be bet­ter and the in­dus­try should con­cen­trate on telling good sto­ries with in­ven­tive use of the lan­guage of films.

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