China’s Golden Week box office fourth highest in holiday's history
Published: Oct 07, 2023 11:01 PM
The premiere of the film <em>The Volunteers: To The War</em> is held on September 26, 2023 in Beijing. Photo: VCG

The premiere of the film The Volunteers: To The War is held on September 26, 2023 in Beijing. Photo: VCG

China's eight-day Golden Week holiday concluded with a total box office of 2.734 billion yuan ($380 million), the fourth highest box office in the period's history. The total number of tickets sold exceeded 65.114 million, showing an impressive 80 percent year-on-year growth, according to a report released by Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan on Saturday.

Different from the past in which patriotic films dominated, the 12 films that premiered during the 2023 holiday encompassed a diverse range of genres that included historical dramas, crime thrillers, romantic stories, suspense, comedy and animation.

Chinese veteran director Zhang Yimou's Under the Light took the lead by grossing 935 million yuan as of Friday, followed by romance film The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan, the historical epic The Volunteers: To the War and crime action movie Moscow Mission starring Andy Lau. 

Chen Jin, an analyst at Beacon Professional Edition, told the Global Times that "intense competition" was the highlight of this year's October Golden Week holiday, which included the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday. Notably, the box office experienced two consecutive days of decline during the holiday, but overall, ticket sales remained robust. He pointed out that this was mainly due to the overall positive word-of-mouth surrounding the new released films.

Anti-corruption film Under the Light earned solid reviews and became the most popular film during the holiday. Chinese director Chen Kaige's The Volunteers: To the War that showed the notable and resolute spirit of the Chinese People's Volunteers during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53) also touched many Chinese moviegoers.

According to data from Beacon Professional Edition, the age demographics of moviegoers during the holiday showed a relatively higher proportion of older audiences, particularly for films like The Volunteers: To the War, for which moviegoers aged 40 and above were prominent. Many audiences chose to watch the film with their family, with nearly 20 percent of viewers attending in groups of three or more.

The report from Maoyan also revealed that compared to 2021, there was an increase in the proportion of audiences from different regions buying tickets outside their home cities during the holiday. This closely relates to the boost in tourism and the release of pent-up consumer demand for travel.

Yin Hong, vice chairman of the China Film Association, stated there were several reasons for the relatively low anticipation for the Golden Week holiday film period. On one hand, after the start of the new school year, the consumption demand and behavior of core audiences changed, shifting from the unconventional summer blockbuster period back to the usual norm. On the other hand, although the three major films had their strengths, they failed to generate nationwide attention as blockbuster hits. Additionally, tourism and the Hangzhou Asian Games also diverted attention from films, Beijing Daily reported.

Media reported that during the eight-day holiday, an average of 100 million people traveled each day.

As three-quarters of 2023 has already passed, China's film market continues to recover. The recently released report highlights not only the efforts made by filmmakers to diversify film genres but also the sustained revival of the movie-watching market. This mutual commitment from both the production and consumption sides of the film industry will lay a solid foundation for the future prosperity of the Chinese film market, a data analyst from Maoyan told the Global Times.