BEIJING (Xinhua) — During the Lunar New Year vacation last week, Chinese consumer spending on movies crashed. As theaters raised prices to all-time highs. China has the world’s largest box office
The seven-day holiday, which ended on Sunday, was the busiest week of the year for new movie releases in China. This year, eight films created in China were released.
According to Maoyan, the total holiday box office of 6.04 billion yuan ($951.1 million) was down 23% from 7.84 billion yuan for the same period in 2021.
According to the data, tickets were on average 8% more expensive this year than last year. On one day over the holiday, the average ticket price reached 56 yuan ($8.80). This was the highest on record dating back to 2017.
Holiday Season influencing The China Cinema
According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, overall tourism consumption throughout the holiday season was 3.9 percent lower than in 2021, totaling 289.12 billion yuan. That’s considerably below pre-pandemic levels, accounting for around 56.3 percent of tourism spending in 2019, according to data.
The dip in the holiday box office this year comes off a high base in 2021. When the Lunar New Year coincided with Valentine’s Day, according to the chief China economist at Nomura.
Covid-related restrictions, as well as low consumer demand, make maintaining high ticket sales more challenging. He wrote in a note. “Anecdotal evidence shows that cinemas have purposefully raised ticket prices in expectation of lower ticket sales than last year, to offset the predicted profit loss.”
Prices for consumer products in China have risen in tandem with global inflation. However, consumer prices rose by just 1% year over year last year. Significantly less than the 8% increase in cinema ticket costs.
According to the report, this year’s Lunar New Year box office of around 6 billion yuan was higher than the 5.9 billion yuan recorded in 2019. Due to the epidemic, seven films were delayed in their release over the holiday season of 2020. This resulted in effectively shutting down theaters.
China dominating the film industry
China box office movie theaters have had to contend with infrequent lockdowns as well as modifications in the availability of films two years into the outbreak.
Because of government measures, Chinese-made films have increased their proportion of the local market. As they restrict the release of foreign-made films while favoring domestic titles,
According to official Chinese data, the disparity grew throughout the epidemic. With the share of foreign-made films decreasing to around 16 percent since 2020, down from well over a third in previous years.
According to Gao, the growing share of domestically produced material may have a detrimental impact on China’s overall box office. “The cinemas are under more pressure to break even,” she said, adding that this means they’ll have to diversify their revenue streams or hike ticket prices.
The freshly released “Watergate Bridge,” a sequel to last year’s high-grossing picture about Chinese forces fighting American troops during the Korean War, was the top-grossing film over the holiday weekend.
According to Maoyan data, another new comedy called “Too Cool to Kill,” came in second in the gross box office.