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China Screen Press. January Issue


China Box Office to Exceed U.S. by 2020

Nov 30, 2012 时光网by Li Xiao-dao,

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang                                                          Back to CSP Articles

According to international auditors Ernst & Young, China’s box office income will exceed equivalent United States earnings by 2020. The US box office consistently returns around $10-11 billion USD each year, whilst China‘s is growing by more than 20% annually. At this rate, China may exceed the U.S. in six years.

(Consistent growth of 20% over the predicted period is speculative, and may plateau out as exhibition enters a mature stage of screen saturation. Ed.)


Real Estate Investors Bleeding Cinemas

Dec 18, 2012 People's Daily 人民日报

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

By the end of 2012, there were 13,000 cinema screens in cities in China. The growth in cinemas has pushed up rent costs, and diluting cinema profits in favor of real estate investors.

Market researcher Liu Fan said,” In the past, cinemas needed three to five years to recoup their investment, now they need five to eight years.”

Industry insiders say that cinemas in shopping centers not only have to pay high rent, but are also required to split 13%~15% of box-office income to center owners, plus splits from merchandise and advertising revenue. Together, overheads for a seat now amount to around $3,200 USD per year, so an average 1,400 seat cinema needs $4.5 million USD income per year just to cover costs.


Lost in ThailandHit Boosts Enlight Shares

Dec 20, 2012 新快报by Pang Qian-ying, Zeng Yong

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

Surprise hit Lost in Thailand has pushed up the stock prices of investor group Enlight Media. Stock prices of Enlight Media have risen around 12.9% since the film was premiered.

(China’s complex film financing market often seeks fast returns from share-price increases in production investment entities based on predicted rather than actual performance, with risk usually moderated between a number of aggregated film properties. Ed.)


New Chinese Policy on Taiwanese Films

Dec 24, 2012 新闻晚报by Yu Yin, Sun Miao

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

China’s new policy on Taiwanese film production opens the gate for China-Taiwan film cooperation. The new policy lifts quota restrictions on film imports from Taiwan, and also relaxes restrictions on China-Taiwan co-production.



Lost in ThailandHit BoostsThai Tourism

Dec 26, 2012 Mtime 时光网

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

Chinese tourism to Thailand has increased dramatically since Lost in Thailand hit China’s screens. Over 10,000 tourists registered for Thailand visits, up 300% from the same period last year. The film’s principal locations in Chiang Mai have proved particularly popular, with increases in flight and luxury hotel bookings.


Only Three Local Films in Top Ten

Dec 27, 2012 dfdaily 东方早报by Li Yun-ling

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

Only three Chinese film were listed in the nation’s top-ten earners, in a year with total box-office over 16 billion RMB (about $2.5 billion USD).

From January to October 2012, 638 domestic films were made, returning a 41.4% share of all box office income. China’s local top-ten earners were Painted Skin: The Resurrection, Lost in Thailand, and Back to 1942. The remaining seven were all foreign productions. In the first three- quarters of this year, only ten domestic films went into profit, a further eight covered costs, whilst a massive 82.5% have not yet returned a profit.

(Crowded exhibition schedules mean that many produced films receive little or no big-screen time and promotion, and are released straight to small screen to amortise costs without returns being counted in annual box office figures compiled by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT). Unlike some Western production models, China’s industry is not dependent on the signing of Distribution Guarantees before shooting commences, relying instead on the possibility of competitive break-out hits through a lower-cost mass-production strategy.

Although apparently alarming, these figures are not radically different for more mature markets in India, Europe and the US in terms of total returns per film per screening, when consideration is qualified by comparing returns only for those films actually achieving commercial supported distribution. Ed)


Lost in Thailand China’s 2012 Box Office Champ

Dec 28, 2012 Xinhua News Agency 新华社

Translation and summary Zhang Yan, Ian Lang

By December 25, Lost in Thailand has been shown nearly 370,000 times in cinemas. With admissions of 22 million viewers earning $16 million USD in 13 days, the film has averaged a return of $9 million USD each day. Lost in Thailand has now exceeded Painted Skin: The Resurrection tobecome China’s box-office champion for 2012.

Industry insiders predict that it will reach 1 billion RMB ($160 million USD) in the New Year holiday.

(This year, the beginning of China’s lunar New Year will be celebrated on February 10, with the next ten days of the holiday period traditionally seeing a surge in cinema-going.)



Lost in Thailand Redefines mainland tastes

January 14, 2013, He Huifeng

Summary Ian Lang

The success of the 30-million-yuan film Lost in Thailand has shocked the domestic movie industry, normally dominated by big-budget historical epics with large casts.

The film is a travel adventure with Thailand as its backdrop. Scientist/businessman Xu Lang invents a miracle fuel additive, and he flies to Thailand to stop a business partner who wants to sell the invention. Silly Thailand-related hijinks ensue, including mistaking a transgender person for a beautiful woman.

But as the film progresses, Xu finds himself not only lost in Thailand, but lost for direction in his life. He finally realises money is not everything and joins a pancake maker on a simple, but fun trip.