Update: China’s box office surpasses 5b yuan in first 24 days of 2023, top in the world
Published: Jan 23, 2023 02:04 PM Updated: Jan 24, 2023 09:23 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's box office, including the pre-sale, during the first 24 days of this year has breached 5 billion yuan ($736 million), surpassing that of North America, and ranked first in the box office of a single market in the world, Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan showed on Tuesday.

The data have jumped from 3 billion yuan as of 8:23 am on Tuesday to over 5 billion yuan at around 8pm the same day, the fourth day of the 7-day Chinese Spring Festival holidays, a strong sign of the fast recovery of the movie sector that is set to shrug off the pandemic-induced ebb.

Chinese-made blockbusters have led the box office. Ticket sales from famed director Zhang Yimou's historical epic movie Man Jiang Hong ranked first in the box office of more than 1.3 billion yuan, followed by science fiction film The Wandering Earth-2 with more than 1.2 billion yuan.

The Spring Festival marks the first seasonal peak for film industry in four years, after China optimized COVID response and lifted caps on entertainment and cultural facilities. 

Across China, movie theaters are thronging with audiences during the festive holidays, with some of them having watched two or three movies so far "to release moviegoers' pent-up desire for high-quality films," the Global Times was told.

"We're very thrilled to see the returning of hustle and bustle, even in the midnight. There's no doubt that the box office during the holidays will surpass last year's level," a manager of a movie theater in Ningde, East China's Fujian Province, told the Global Times. 

He voiced confidence that the revenue will be at its highest level since 2020, the first year of the pandemic, or at least return to 80 percent of the 2021 level soon.

There are seven films hitting the market during the Spring Festival, across diversified genres, showing the creativity and high-quality development of China's filmmaking industry. In addition to the aforementioned, other movies include espionage suspense movie Hidden Blade, and "Ping Pong: The Triumph", which tells the story of underdog victory of China's national table tennis team in 1995. The latter will be released on Tuesday.

It is expected that the overall box office during the Spring Festival will likely top  8 billion yuan, seen as the key to the long-term revival of China's film industry, according to a research note issued by Guotai Junan Securities. 

Another report issued by Wanlian Securities predicted the revenues may hit 9 billion yuan, fueled by the three-fold effect of COVID response optimization, a slight drop in ticket price, and popular films drawing moviegoers back to theaters.

Global Times