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Domestic Productions Prosper as Chinese Consumers Mark National Holiday With a Trip to the Movies

By Matthew Walsh / Oct 06, 2020 12:36 PM / Economy

Photo: IC

Photo: IC

China’s box office took 2.21 billion yuan ($325.46 million) in the first four days of the “Golden Week” national holiday, around three-quarters of last year’s total, as moviegoers steadily return to cinemas following the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

The takings recorded between Oct. 1 and Oct. 4, which this year encompasses both the Mid-Autumn Festival and part of the annual National Day celebration, came after six new films were released to coincide with one of China’s peak moviegoing periods.

Of those, fantasy flick “Jiang Ziya,” produced by Beijing Enlight Pictures Co. Ltd. and the sequel to last year’s smash hit “Nezha,” topped the box office charts Thursday and Friday before being dislodged by Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism Co. Ltd.’s comedy offering “My People, My Homeland.”

As of Monday, “My People, My Homeland” had taken a total of 1.05 billion yuan, slightly ahead of “Jiang Ziya” on 1.01 billion yuan. Both sit comfortably among China’s three highest-grossing movies of the year so far.

Other movies in the current box office top 10 include “The Eight Hundred,” a war epic that unexpectedly became this year’s highest-grossing movie worldwide last month; director Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction thriller “Tenet”; and Disney’s controversial and poor-performing live-action remake of “Mulan.”

China’s leaders are pushing “revenge” spending during the National Day holiday as consumers look to release pent-up demand after months of pandemic-induced restrictions came to an end earlier this year.

Cinemas are doing a brisk trade compared with their overseas counterparts, raking in 742 million yuan on the first day of the holiday — the highest one-day takings since movie theaters reopened in July.

Chinese consumers splurged more than 4.4 billion yuan on movie tickets during the National Day holiday last year. The country’s box office has taken on greater global significance this year after some cinemas in other parts of the world, including Cineworld Group PLC, have temporarily or permanently closed theaters under strain from the pandemic.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com) and editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)


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