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Chinese movies have a long way to go to attract audiences overseas (2)

(People's Daily Online)

08:46, June 14, 2012

In sharp contrast to Chinese movies’ poor performance in foreign markets, Hollywood blockbusters have grossed tons of money in the Chinese market. In 2010, total box-office receipts in the United States reached 10.6 billion U.S. dollars, almost all contributed by U.S. movies, while China’s box-office receipts only reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, 44 percent of which were from U.S. movies. Last year, 17 foreign movies each took in more than 100 million yuan in China, and Hollywood movies grossed a total of more than 3.8 billion yuan in the country, accounting for over 29 percent of China’s total box-office revenue. Titanic 3D alone easily grossed more than 1 billion yuan in the Chinese mainland in the first half of the year. China is on track to overtake Japan as the largest overseas market for Hollywood.

Several major film festivals in Europe, which Chinese movie producers have frequently attended, cannot boost the confidence of the Chinese movie industry either. Many Chinese producers find it "increasingly difficult to sell their movies." Take the Berlin International Film Festival for example. In addition to a few high-investment movies such as The Flowers of War and Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D, few people showed any interest in the Chinese movies at the festival. Only seven Chinese movies were shown at the Cannes International Film Festival this year, of which, only two movies, namely Chinese Zodiac and Painted Skin: The Resurrection, are set to be shown commercially in certain European and Asian countries thanks to their producers’ overseas connections. Certain Chinese movie producers who attended the Cannes film festival said that Chinese movies are not as popular in foreign countries as they appear, and the overseas markets for Chinese movies are shrinking.

"Trade deficit" is a glaring phrase in the Silver Book. After China joined the WTO, China's trade deficit of movie box office appeared in 2010. In that year, China's income from exporting movies was surpassed by China's expenditure on importing movies, indicating that China's domestic demand for imported movies exceeded China's movie export. In 2011, the trade deficit was expanded to a little more than 4 billion yuan, of which, the severest deficit is the movie trade deficit with the United States.

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