A look at the demographics of China’s movie-going population

By Mtime.com - Global Times Source:Global Times Published: 2016-1-13 19:08:02

A still from Mr. Six


A still from Surprise

Photos: CFP


A look at the demographics of China's movie-going population

The year-end and new year period is often the busiest time for Chinese theaters. Recent weeks have been no exception to this rule as box office blockbusters have been hustling onto the big screen one after another: On December 18, fantasy-comedy Surprise and fantasy-adventure Mojin - The Lost Legend hit theaters, while Beijing gangster film Mr. Six and star-filled comedy Devil and Angel reached cinemas on December 24. The three-day New Year holiday was also packed as it saw the release of Detective Chinatown, Heart for Heaven and Little Door Gods. 

An analysis of audience ticket purchases through Chinese movie site mtime.com during this period shows some interesting conclusions. For example, audiences that saw Surprise tended to be younger, while many enjoyed the film alone. The major audiences for Mojin were in first-tier cities and consisted of people who prefer visual blockbusters. Mr. Six had a strong following in Beijing, but was less warmly welcomed in the southern part of China.   

Audience diversity

The major contributors during the year end-new year period were moviegoers between the age of 21-30, with the 25 and under demographic showing very high enthusiasm for films. Statistics show that 60 percent of those who saw the comedies Surprise and Devil and Angel were born in the 1990s. 

In contrast to that, Mojin attracted the oldest audiences by average age, though some had predicted that Mr. Six would bring in more older audiences since its main character was an old retired gangster. Most likely due to the influence of young stars Wu Yifan and Li Yifeng, Mr. Six ended up bringing in a younger demographic - about half its audience belonged to China's post-1990 generation. As for female to male audience ratios, Mojin brought in more males than any of the other above mentioned films.

 Taking a look at geographical differences, Beijingers accounted for 14.95 percent of Mr. Six audiences, while Shanghai took second place with 6.94 percent and Guangzhou third with 2.73 percent.

As for instances where two tickets were purchased at the same time, Mojin had the highest rate at 90 percent, while Surprise took last place with 74 percent.

Data shows that audiences that saw Mojin and Mr. Six also have a strong interest in imported films. Six out of the 10 most watched films by moviegoers who saw Mojin or Mr. Six were imported films, to include The Martian, Ant-Man, Spectre and Fast & Furious 7. These audiences seem to be more open to foreign culture and prefer big budget films.

Audiences who saw Surprise, Devil and Angel or Detective Chinatown show an opposing trend: 6 out of the 10 most watched films among these audiences were domestic films, such as Lost in Hong Kong and Goodbye Mr. Loser. These audiences seem to prefer local stories and show a preference towards comedies.

Doubling up

While many people hold the idea that when similar films appear in theaters at the same time they have to fight over the same audiences, but this is not always the case.

Statistics show that 7.44 percent of audiences who purchased tickets through mtime.com saw both Mojin and Mr. Six, most likely due to the two both having very good word of mouth and online reviews. 

Mojin held a dominant position when it came to the number of screenings and box office revenue during its first week. It made more than 400 million yuan ($60.8 million) during its first weekend. Though it faced new films during later weeks, with its 7.6/10 score on mtime.com and good reputation, it still continued to perform well.

Mr. Six performed similarly. In fact, box office earned on its fifth day in theaters - a Monday - actually surpassed the single day earnings of the previous four days. Mr. Six holds an 8/10 score on mtime.com. The only domestic films to achieve such a grade over the past three years are Monkey King: Hero is Back (8/10), No Man's Land (8/10), and Dearest (8.1/10).

Compared to the number of people who saw both Mr. Six and Mojin, the number of moviegoers who watched any combination of Surprise (5.7/10), Devil and Angel (4.5/10), and Detective Chinatown (7.2/10) was much smaller.

When it comes to the box office performances of Surprise and Devil and Angel, the films started off strong, but quickly lost audiences as poor reviews caused theaters to cut back on the number of screenings.  

Mtime.com - Global Times

Newspaper headline: Finding the target

Posted in: Film

blog comments powered by Disqus