Bona Film reports revenue growth

Updated: 2013-04-03 05:31

By Huang Ying (China Daily)

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Bona Film Group Ltd, the Chinese film distributor and producer, has reported annual net revenues of $142.3 million for 2012, a 12.8 percent year-on-year increase, driven by its film investment, production and movie theater businesses.

Its film investment and production arms generated $73.7 million in net revenue, from $50.5 million in 2011, largely from the success of its first TV drama production, The King's Battles - an 80-episode series that premiered on multiple satellite networks in China.

Net revenues from its theater business rose to $41.7 million from $26 million in 2011, a 60.4 percent rise year-on-year, which the company attributed to an expansion of its theater activities across the country.

Bona opened nine theaters in 2012, increasing its portfolio of owned and operated theaters to 20, and its number of screens to 163 by the end of December.

Its theaters earned revenue of 260 million yuan ($41.9 million).

In the fourth quarter alone, the company opened five cinemas in cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hefei in Anhui province.

The new theaters now provide 5,800 seats and 40 screens, and by 2014, the company plans to own 35 to 40 cinemas nationwide, it said.

Last year, Bona also strengthened its partnership with overseas counterparts in a bid to distinguish itself from domestic rivals.

In May, one of the world's leading media conglomerates News Corp acquired a 19.9 percent stake in Bona.

And in October, Bona signed a letter of intent for film co-production with Fox International Productions, a division of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

It has also signed a co-production agreement with Universal Studios and Working Title Films.

"Despite these achievements, our financial results were affected by a weak fourth quarter, which was largely attributable to the delayed release of The Grandmasters, lower than expected box office receipts for The Last Tycoon and increased start-up costs associated with new theater openings," said Yu Dong, its founder, chairman and CEO.

Its distribution business slowed in the period, with revenue dropping to $64.1 million from $94.9 million in 2011.

Bona distributed 15 films during the year, including two imported films it also helped to market.

Collaboration with international companies will boost Bona's production and distribution businesses this year, becoming its major profit drivers, according to Liu Cuiping, a research manager at EntGroup Consulting, a Beijing-based entertainment industry consultancy firm.

China's box office revenues reached 16.8 billion yuan last year, a surge of nearly 30 percent year-on-year, with domestic films contributing less than half of the figure for the first time in four years, according to figures from EntGroup.

(China Daily 04/03/2013 page16)