Chinese film market enters busy season with 40 films

Updated: 2012-12-06 14:34


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BEIJING -- The Chinese film market is entering a busy season with up to 40 films on the big screen, including Life of Pi, Back to 1942 and the Last Supper.

During the New Year season in 2011, only two Chinese mainland movies stood out, The Flowers of War and The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate.

Chinese film market enters busy season with 40 films

A poster of the Chinese-made movie Life of Pi is seen at a movie theater in Hubei province, Nov 20, 2012. [Liu Junfeng/Asianewsphoto]

The film market this year will screen both domestic and overseas movies, with fierce competition expected.

In December, movies such as Chinese Zodiac 12, The Guillotines, Lost in Thailand, and The Last Tycoon, will be shown. In January, two Hollywood blockbusters Skyfall and the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in China.

According to Huang Feiqun, New Film Association general manager, the 2012 New Year film season will last from late November to the end of the Spring Festival holidays (mid-February).

Life of Pi has already made 200 million yuan ($32.1 million) at the box office. The Last Supper has made 40 million yuan, and Back to 1942 is expected to reach 130 million yuan by the end of the week.

Movie-goers have been posting their preferences online. Zuanzuanshanshanliang wrote, "I smiled, laughed, shed tears, sighed and thought a lot after seeing Back to 1942."

However, more people expressed their fondness for Life of Pi.

Suzai wrote on, a major social network in China, that "feeling the beauty of life and bathed in belief, I would rather regard Life of Pi as a dream and will never be awake."

Huang said that after ten years of development, the New Year film season has matured and is now recognized by the Chinese audience.

"Many people would like to relax at the end of the year, spending more money on entertainment such as watching movies, and the business is stronger during this period of time," Huang added.

He said that, in previous years, Chinese-made movies had more quotas than overseas movies, and this year marks the first time that foreign films have more quotas than domestic ones.

At present, Chinese-made films take 40 percent of the total quota, and foreign films 60 percent. The quota for Chinese-made movies is expected to reach 45 percent after a batch of movies this month, Huang said.

"Because of the relatively low quality of Chinese movies, more foreign movies are imported," Huang added.

In February, China and the United States agreed on a memorandum of understanding on films in the World Trade Organization's China-audiovisual case. According to the memo, 14 more US films will be imported into China annually, in addition to the original 20-film quota.

The increase of more imports of foreign films is another major reason for the quota to succeed half of the total amount in 2012, said Yu Dong, president with the Bona Film Group.

In November, Tian Jin, deputy head of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, announced that the market share of domestic movies had dropped due to the increasing number foreign film imports.

From January to October, the box office of domestic films accounted for 41.4 percent of the total, down from the same period of last year. Though it increased by 40 percent year-on-year to 13.27 billion yuan ($2.13 billion), according to Tian.

In 2011, domestic films contributed to 53.61 percent of the total box office in China.