Although Chinese documentaries have been doing well in recent years, the genre has yet to excite much enthusiasm among domestic cinemagoers, a research has shown.
Only two documentary films entered theater chains last year, with a combined box office of 1.3 million yuan ($211,700 ). They were "The Somalia Truth" and "Looking Up At Stars" (a film about scientist Qian Xuesen).
These profits are tiny compared with the entire Chinese box office in 2012 which was 17.073 billion yuan, according to Thursday's 2013 report on China's documentary development, by the China Documentary Research Center (CDNC), Communication University of China.
"Few people go to the cinema for a serious documentary," prefering a "more entertaining and fragmented" recreational style, said He Suliu, director of CDRC.
Citing "Looking Up At Stars," Li Ning, the CDRC's assistant researcher, said poor marketing led to the film's dismal box office which was only 30,000 yuan, in spite of the touching story.
The poor performance of documentary films is in striking contrast to that of TV documentaries in China. Over 10,000 hours of TV documentaries were produced last year, up nearly 36 percent year on year, with a total investment between 1.078 billion yuan and 1.252 billion yuan.