Domestic competitiveness key to future of China's film industry
Updated: 2015-06-15 08:44
Film poster for The Monkey King, a hugely successful film released at the end of 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
A senior Chinese film official has warned of the possibility of domestic productions being overwhelmed by foreign blockbusters at the box office as cinemagoing booms in China.
China is likely to become the world's biggest film market in terms of box office revenue within three years, Zhou Baolin, who heads the film industry department under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, predicted at a three-day film industry seminar that opened in central China's Changsha on June 11.
However, he noted a number of issues in the Chinese film industry's development, including how uncompetitive Chinese movies are becoming at the box office and the relatively low rate of cinemagoing among the Chinese public.
"One area to pay attention to is the tepid performance of domestic films amid the influx of Hollywood blockbusters, if China wants to unleash more market potential," Zhou said.
The first five months of this year saw the number of screenings of foreign films in Chinese cinemas surpass those of domestic films for the the first time, according to official statistics.
"In order to shore up confidence in the future of the industry, we will need to support the development of domestic films," according to Zhou.
"Americans and South Koreans went to the cinema four times and 4.2 times last year on average, respectively, while the corresponding number in China was 0.6," he said.
China's movie industry ushered in an era of rapid development following reforms in 1993 and 2002, with measures including lifting government control on film distribution, giving cinema chains freedom to set pricing, and consolidating film production agencies into bigger, more effective cooperatives.
Its average box office revenue has sustained 35-percent growth in recent years. Last year, films generated a revenue of almost 30 billion yuan ($4.8 billion), 32 times that of 2002.
In a step to strengthen the cinema industry, seven ministries issued a guideline in 2014 promising them more financial support and preferential policies.