In the first quarter of the year, ticket sales reached 20.2 billion yuan (about US.17 billion) against US.85 billion in North America’s (US and Canada).
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China's box office takings surpassed the US in the beginning of the year and that's setting the Chinese film industry up for a "Hollywood moment," this according to a report by Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC).
Revenues from ticket sales in China outpaced North America’s in the first three months of this year, totalling 20.2 billion yuan (around US.17 billion). Revenues from North American cinemas (US and Canada) reached US.85 billion for the same period.
Analysts had expected Chinese box office revenue to overtake the United States in 2017, but growth in 2016 stalled, ostensibly because of fewer quality movies.
Since then, "the growth story is now on track," said Gary Guo, head of A share media and internet research at HSBC Qianhai Securities.
"Operation Red Sea" – a local war movie based loosely on events in Yemen in 2015 – beat Disney's "Black Panther" to the number one spot in March, Guo said. This is a sign that China's film industry was "at the start of a new growth cycle."
Among the factors contributing to that growth are better quality domestic films and higher spending power among urban residents.
The increase in total cinema screens in the country, which had been the main reason boosting the number of cinema visits per person in past years, is expected to have less of an impact in the future.
Ent Group, a market research firm, expects China's box office to hit the 90 billion yuan (US.1 billion) mark, with revenues from sectors linked to the movie industry exceeding 200 billion yuan (US.3 billion) by 2022.