Box of­fice re­ceipts see sharp drop from last year’s hol­i­day

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YI in Bei­jing zhang_yi@chi­

Box of­fice rev­enue in China de­clined sharply dur­ing the first three days of the Na­tional Day hol­i­day com­pared with last year. It was the first plunge of hol­i­day ticket sales in five years.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures from China Box Of­fice, a State-run an­a­lyst, four ma­jor open­ings in­jected nearly 1.3 bil­lion yuan ($195 mil­lion) in ticket sales since the start of the hol­i­day, tra­di­tion­ally a golden week for movie­go­ers.

But sales in the first three days stood at 774 mil­lion yuan, 10 per­cent be­hind the same pe­riod last year.

I Be­longed to You, a ro­mance film adapted from Zhang Ji­a­jia’s pop­u­lar short story col­lec­tion, took the chance of a Thurs­day re­lease, right be­fore the start of the hol­i­day, and has ac­cu­mu­lated 482 mil­lion yuan — first in the rank­ings so far.

The Hong Kong- pro­duced ac­tion film Op­er­a­tion Mekong, which was re­leased on Fri­day, the first day of the Oct 1-7 hol­i­day, scored nearly 356 mil­lion yuan, tak­ing sec­ond place, ac­cord­ing to China Box Of­fice.

The third-place film was L.O.R.D. —Leg­end of Rav­aging a con­tem­po­rary fan­tasy di­rected by Tiny Times nov­el­ist-turned fi Guo Jing­ming and stuffed with stars in­clud­ing Fan Bing­bing and Kris Wu.

In fourth was the Chi­nese comedy ac­tion ad­ven­ture Mis­sion Mi­lano.

Zhou Xing, head of the School of Arts and Me­dia at Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity, said the Chi­nese film mar­ket is ad­just­ing it­self since growth peaked in 2015.

“The drop in the first three days of the hol­i­day is un­ex­pected. How­ever, the de­cline is in­evitable, as the qual­ity of do­mes­tic films is not sat­is­fac­tory,” Zhou said.

Do­mes­tic film pro­duc­tion lacks cre­ativ­ity and artis­tic value, Zhou said, ex­press­ing hope that more do­mes­tic cul­ture will be in­cluded in films and less copy­ing from ex­ist­ing ideas in film­mak­ing.

Chi­nese movie the­aters per­formed well in 2015, tak­ing in 44 bil­lion yuan in ticket sales, up 48.7 per­cent from 2014.

The first quar­ter of this year was also strong, with an in­crease in box of­fice sales of 50 per­cent over last year.

The box of­fice of Wanda Cinema Line Corp, China’s largest theater chain, soared by 61.4 per­cent dur­ing the pe­riod.

The sec­ond quar­ter was a turn­ing point. China’s box of­fice rev­enue de­clined by 10 per­cent year-on-year, the first drop in five years.

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