China to launch official box office data platform
Updated: 2014-10-15 16:02
China's film administration will launch a new official platform to release official box office statistics. [File photo]
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Li Dong, director of the National Film Industry Development Special Fund Administration Committee Office, said his office would open an official microblog to publish real time data, which will make box office data more open and transparent to the public.
The administration office, under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is the management body that collects, makes use of and manages the national film fund, and that establishes and supervises a general information system of nationwide box offices. Thousands of movie theaters have been reporting real time information to the office, including box office income, show times, and number of audience members.
However, until now, the data was only shared among industry insiders and some media members. It was not available in real time, and some of the data was inconsistent. Some movie companies even inflated their box office revenue for hype and promotion. One of the most typical examples of this was the 2009 film "Astro Boy." The studio and distributor Enlight Pictures announced that the movie grossed 40 million yuan at Chinese box offices in three days, but the film administration later revealed that the film's true gross was 17 million yuan in that period of time. Enlight Pictures later apologized for releasing the inaccurate information.
"This is our new technical approach to fight against fake box office reports," Li Dong said. "You can find out how a movie theater scheduled its screenings at 7:00 pm on our platform just five minutes later at 7:05 pm because it's a real-time remote monitor. The administration inspectors can also go to the particular theater to do on-site checks. This can prevent fake box office reports and prevent box office revenue stealing."
There are several consumer-created box office tracking accounts on microblogging sites such as Weibo.com. These sites were the first to do manual computations of how many seats were sold in theaters throughout China, and later they used technical measures to build a program to calculate box office results.
Wen Te, one of the men who operates the box office reporting Weibo account "Movie Box Office," told ifeng.com that his initial intentions were pure. He wanted to share true data with movie fans, and he hated certain film studios bragging about fake box office results to create hype. Though Movie Box Office's data may not be completely accurate, the blog has gained influence over the past 4 years and now has 290,000 followers. Media and industry insiders now use their data as a reference.
Wen is thrilled that the film administration will open the official channel. "It is a very good thing for the industry," he said, "Then we can move on to do more box office analysis rather than reporting box office results."
The new official platform will launch in early November.