Some believe that the much-better-than-expected dollar success of homegrown movies released this summer has facilitated the growth of movie ticket sales. “Chinese movies have performed quite well at the box office recently,” Chen Siqin, assistant research fellow with the Communication University of China (CUC), told Chinafrica.
Military-themed action movie Wolf Warrior II is the biggest money spinner. It earned $870 million worldwide 47 days after it was shown on July 27. It’s also the only non-hollywood blockbuster to be in the world’s 55 highest grossing movies listed on Boxofficemojo.com. One out of 10 Chinese people [140 million] watched the movie after its release, making it the most watched one in a single territory.
Besides Wolf Warrior II, low-budget niche production like Paths of the Soul and documentary Twenty-two have also became dark horses in their genres. Paths of the Soul, which depicts the pilgrimage of Tibetan Buddhists to holy Kangrinboqe Mountain, raked in 100 million yuan ($15.28 million), one of the highest grossing art movies ever in China. Twenty-two, which sheds light on surviving World War II sex slaves in China, earned 170.27 million yuan ($26 million), becoming the first Chinese documentary to do so.
“China’s 2017 box office is expected to total 55 billion yuan ($8.4 billion), or even be up to 60 billion yuan ($9.16 billion),” Zhu estimated. Obviously, the recent success of homegrown movies has provided an adrenaline rush to China’s cinema which recorded its strongest year in the past five years. Statistics from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) show that China’s box office revenue in 2016 amounted to 45.71 billion yuan ($6.86 billion), climbing just a meager 3.73 percent year on year. It is in sharp contrast with the 49-percent surge in 2015.