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Imported films steal the show at nation's cinemas

By Liu Wei  (China Daily)

09:31, January 14, 2013

Authorities said domestic films have performed better than expected, although they earned less box office revenue than imported ones last year, the first time in 10 years.

The State Film Bureau, the top regulator of the industry, announced on Wednesday that the country's box office revenue in 2012 reached 17 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), a 30 percent rise over the previous year. Domestic films made up 48.5 percent of the revenue, raking in 8.27 billion yuan.

Tong Gang, president of the bureau, called the past year a tough time for domestic filmmakers because they faced fiercer competition from Hollywood.

In February, China and the United States inked an agreement that increased the number of foreign films released in the country from 20 to 34. The additional 14 films need to be in 3-D or IMAX, which usually have higher ticket prices than ordinary pictures.

"Domestic films faced unprecedented pressure in 2012, but their performance was better than we expected," Tong said.

Li Dong, director of the managing committee of the National Film Development Fund, an organization affiliated to the film bureau, revealed to China Daily that the bureau had expected domestic films to take 45 percent of the market share in 2012.

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