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China Exclusive: Low-budget comedies' box office performance is no joke (2)

By Wang Xiaopeng, Bai Ying and Xu Xiaoqing (Xinhua)

11:14, February 03, 2013

The epic's disappointing ticket revenue surprised many observers, as Feng has been one of China's most successful commercial filmmakers. His 1997 film "Jia Fang Yi Fang," or "The Dream Factory," was the first film produced especially for the Lunar New Year film season and grossed 33 million yuan that year.

"Low-budget comedies win large audiences because they are closer to real life and appeal to a wider audience, especially young people," Zhang said.

Meanwhile, it's worth noting the creative tricks these films are using to attract audiences, the professor added. The actors in "Bring Happiness Home" are the hosts of a popular entertainment show produced by Hunan TV, based in Changsha, capital city of central China's Hunan Province.

"The market potential for films that include elements from popular TV shows will be great," Zhang said.

Meanwhile, some observers and directors believe Chinese moviegoers are growing more and more diversified, perhaps contributing to the popularity of comedies with wide appeal.

Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai told Xinhua in a recent interview that it was hard to appeal to every moviegoer, as everyone has their own tastes.

His most recent film, "The Grandmaster," a kung fu film that debuted across China on Jan. 8, grossed nearly 30 million yuan on its opening day in China and has continued to enjoy steady ticket sales.

China's box office sales hit 17.07 billion yuan in 2012, surging 30.18 percent year on year and making the country the world's second-largest film market.

Though films like "Lost in Thailand" have performed a feat at box office, domestic films generally remain unable to rival their foreign counterparts. Ticket sales for imported movies accounted for 51.54 percent of gross ticket revenue last year, but 893 Chinese domestic films were shown in theaters, compared to only about 50 imported films, including 34 Hollywood blockbusters.

China's film industry is still far from other film powers, and there is plenty of room for improvement in the diversity and variety of Chinese movies, Tong Gang, head of the film bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said at a press briefing in January.

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