When China’s economy started to take off, it was expected the cinema would do the same. And it did. Since 2002, local theaters started showing a wider variety of films, increasing China’s cinema industry by more than tenfold. China currently ranks second after the US in total number of ‘big screens’ boasting a whopping 31,627 countrywide.
Expected to overtake the US in numbers soon, it looks like that might now happen later than expected.
According to the box office tracker EntGroup, ticket sales in China fell by 10% over a period of three months. Average ticket prices have also fallen to the lowest level in more than five years. Surprising, given the fact that China’s box office grew by a remarkable 49% last year.
Talking more than just tickets, cinema sales is a key indicator from which the state of the country’s economy can be estimated. This is due to the belief the government manipulates official data to meet growth numbers.
While some blame the slowdown on a reduction in ticket subsidies from film producers, others like Wang Changtian of Enlight Media suggest that less subsidy means movie tickets have just become too expensive. At least there’s always Big Movie.