A study released by EntGroup reveals that China's overall box office has reached 10.3 billion yuan ($1.68 billion) as of June 23. That marks an impressive 27 percent increase over 2012 at the same point in the year. Chinese films are responsible for 6.47 billion yuan, which gives them an impressive 63 percent market share. In 2012, domestic films accounted for 2.9 billion yuan and a paltry 10% market share at this point in the year.
146 films were screened in China during the first six months of the year, and 117 of them were home-grown products.
"Ever since the huge success of the low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand, which was released in December, Chinese viewers' enthusiasm and expectations for domestic film productions have jumped," Huang Ting, industry analyst with EntGroup, tells China Daily.
Tiny Times is the new opening day champion in Chinese box office history. The film is the first entry in director Guo Jingming's adaptation of his own book series, a four part saga targeting a young female demographic in China. Tiny Times grossed $11.88 million its Chinese debut, according to a social media post from distributor Le Vision Pictures Co Ltd. Film Business Asia is reporting that the next installment of the Tiny Times series is scheduled for release in China later this year.
Man of Tai Chi is going big in China. The Chinese film is the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves and is the first Mandarin-language film to be helmed by a Western actor. Man of Tai Chi is slated for a July 5 release across IMAX theaters in China.
An official press release describes the film plot as an action-packed drama depicting the spiritual journey of a young martial artist as he struggles to maintain his traditional values and beliefs against the pressures of modern society. Targeted for his fighting skill, he is lured into the dark world of underground combat by menacing forces that seek to corrupt him with money, glamour and the promise of power.
"We're happy to be back in business with our longtime partner Keanu Reeves, an advocate of The IMAX Experience and a global star who has already proven to be very popular with our audiences," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Entertainment. "We look forward to working closely with Keanu and our good friends at Wanda, Village Road Show and China Film Group on this blockbuster title."
The deal includes the possibility for international expansion of the film in the IMAX format.
Man of Steel took the Chinese box office by storm, taking in $25.93 million in four days to become the week's top film. The superhero film was poised to perform in China after in-person appearances by director Zach Snyder and star Henry Cavill at the film's Chinese premiere led a press push in the days before its release. Warner Bros. is going into the next couple of weeks with a distinct advantage as Man of Steel is the only scheduled Hollywood release in China for the rest of the month.
The only significant competition that Man of Steel would face from Hollywood films in its first couple of weeks would have come from Star Trek Into Darkness. The sci-fi sequel has already grossed $56.29 million in China after nearly a month in release. China accounts for over 25% of the $213.4 million global gross of Star Trek Into Darkness. The film has been slowing down in its release recently, posing no real threat to Man of Steel. Star Trek Into Darkness it is still posting seven-figure weekly totals despite the heavy competition it has faced. The sci-fi film ranked in fourth place on the latest weekly chart with a $3.4 million tally.
The second place film on the chart came from the weekend release of the China/Hong Kong Jet Li vehicle Badges of Fury. The Jet Li action film took in a strong $14.98 million in its first three days. Action films have proven extremely popular in China this summer, with Badges of Fury taking over the role that Switch had occupied recently. Poor reviews and the Man of Steel premiere affected Switch as it entered its third week, dropping to a $5 million weekly take as it lost momentum to competing releases. Switch has grossed a total of $46.12 million in China.
Weekly Box Office Results for China.
A $25.5 million opening weekend for Man of Steel in China led the way for the film's $89 million weekend in the widest overseas expansion of its release. The strong numbers lifted the film to a $188.3 million overseas total, just shy of the $400 million milestone with a $398.3 worldwide total after two weeks in release. The film opened in around 5,631 screens in China and dominated the other releases, facing no new Hollywood openings in the market for the rest of the month. The Superman reboot took advantage of the attendance of star Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder at the film's Chinese premiere, boosting the film's four-day total at the top of China's weekly box office grosses chart.
In other China box office news, Sony announced a pending release date for After Earth in July. A Chinese release is vital for the troubled M. Night Shyamalan film to recoup some of its losses in North America. The exact date hasn't been confirmed yet, but Sony will be hoping for a bit of distance between the After Earth premiere and the Fast & Furious 6 release on July 26.
Check back with us later this week for a full report on the Chinese box office.