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Chinese mainland leads world in cinemas screens, lacks good films

(People's Daily Online)    16:49, December 22, 2016

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The number of cinema screens in the Chinese mainland had reached 40,917 by Dec. 20, with an average daily increase of 26, according to statistics from China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), Beijing Daily reported. This means the Chinese mainland now has the largest number of cinema screens of any country in the world.

The American Film Institute's market report indicates that the total number of cinema screens in the U.S. was 40,759 in May. That number has been stable for many years, with a very low growth rate.

Three-dimensional screens accounted for 85 percent of all screens in Chinese cinemas. Most cinemas prefer 3-D screens, as they are also compatible with 2-D films. In addition, the number of IMAX and Dolby theaters is on the rise, providing still more options to audiences.

The slowdown of box office growth in China seems not to have influenced the construction of new cinemas this year. The total number of cinema screens built last year in China was 31,672, compared to this year's 40,917 -- an increase of 29 percent. An official from SAPPRFT pointed out that the number of cinema screens is keeping pace with China's domestic box office. The film market developed by leaps and bounds during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, attracting a great deal of money to the film industry.

However, although the Chinese mainland has more and more screens, its box office numbers are falling far behind. The U.S. box office brings in more than $10 billion each year, while that number in the Chinese mainland is estimated to be 45 billion RMB (about $6.48 billion) in 2016.

Jiang Yong, a film market researcher, pointed out that there is still a big gap between Chinese film production scale and quality compared to the U.S. What's more, the U.S. has a huge overseas market.

Researcher Peng Kan said that the number of cinema screens in China still has room to grow, based on the country's population. He advised balancing investment and construction in the domestic film market, focusing on the quality of films in the future.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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