Domestic film industry booms in China
Updated: 2013-06-20 17:39
In 2012, the quota of imported films to China jumped from 20 to 34. The figures show that Chinese films struggled to compete with their imported counterparts. However, so far this year things have been different. The domestic film market here is positively booming.
China's domestic film industry has seen an extraordinary success in the first half of this year. That's in stark contrast to its failure just last year to compete with Hollywood blockbusters. While it might be too early to call it the golden age for Chinese cinema, the lengthening lines at theater are a clear sign that the market is healthy and growing fast.
Rapidly expanding market
Up to June the 16th, box office revenue in the Chinese mainland totalled 10 billion yuan, already surpassing 2010's annual figure, with domestic films accounting for a more than 60% share of the total market.
The rapid expansion of cinemas might be one of the most crucial reasons things have changed. Some 2,000 new screens appeared in the first four months of this year and another 5,000 are estimated to open their doors by the end of the year.
Raymond Zhou, film critic, said, "The expansion of cinema lines in the second and third tier cities. Because in the last decade, the boom is more or less in the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. And now all these theater chains start rolling out in smaller cities. So we are getting more and more audience size. As a consequence the taste has also changed."
In smaller cities, audiences might be more interested in stars like Zhao Wei and Xu Zheng who earned their fame on TV rather than overseas super heros or fantasy franchises.
New generation of directors emegging
Zhao Wei's recent directorial debut "So Young", with its nostalgic themes, harvested over 700 million yuan at the box office. Xu Zheng’s directing debut "Lost in Thailand" raked in a staggering 1.24 billion yuan and remained on the throne of the Chinese box office. Stephen Chou's "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons" was a close runner-up in second place, with James Cameron's "Avatar" in third.
It seems that the time for a new generation of directors is upon us, with young, new talent emerging, tackling narratives that reasonate with the their target audiences. And they do it Hollywood style, on a big budget with a star-studded cast.