China’s hesui pian – its New Year films – have become hotly contested fixtures, as shown by the news that February was the first ever full month in which the country’s box office exceeded the US’s: $650m to $640m. This happened largely because China’s key release window coincides with a month of no great consequence in the American box-office calendar (a big July, containing Independence Day, can bring in $1.3-1.4bn). But February’s figures are still a minor watershed in the lapping of the box-office tides, a sudden toe-wetting promising the big wave to come. And that is where Chinese annual takings finally wash over the $11bn mark the US has been hovering around for much of the past half-decade; even taking the most conservative Chinese annual growth rate (30%) of the past few years, that is due to happen in 2018.
Thursday, March 05, 2015
China beats US monthly take. Birdman 125% Oscar bounce
The box office columns continue to be a rich source of context and analysis. This column in global box office highlights two industry trends - the Oscar bounce (Birdman grew by a sensational 125%, with the distributor TRIPLING the screen count), and the inexorable rise of the Chinese film market. February 2015 saw the monthly Chinese box office beat America's for the first time, with the annual take widely predicted to exceed America's $11bn by 2018, with huge implications for production (casting, settings, varied cuts as with World War Z for different markets...):