Is China's film market suffering from heatstroke?

Updated 2017-07-26 11:13:13 CGTN

With temperatures soaring to almost 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of China, the war of the summer blockbuster in the film market is also entering its hottest period.

However, the film market seems to be suffering from heatstroke this summer.

According to Mtime.com, one of China's top film news sites, as of July 23 the monthly box office only took 3.01 billion yuan (450 million U.S. dollars).

And with just a week to go, there is still a gap of 15 billion yuan (2.22 billion U.S. dollars) to match the figures from the same period last year.

Last Saturday, the box office took 149 million yuan (U.S..07 million), one of the poorest Saturday takings in the past three and a half months.

Two domestic films, "The Founding of an Army" and "Wolf Warrior 2," are scheduled to be screened before the end of July, and whether they can boost the sluggish market remains to be seen.

The summer holiday season, which is usually considered to last from June 1 to August 31, is one of the busiest in the Chinese film market.

Statistics show that from 2014 to 2016, the summer releases' box office accounted for 30.5 percent, 28.3 percent and 27.3 percent of the whole year's revenue, respectively.

But all of a sudden, the film industry witnessed such a disappointing situation to happan.

Data from the China Movie Data Information Network shows that the total box office in the first half of 2017 amounted to 27.2 billion yuan (4.03 billion U.S. dollars), up only by 10.5 percent - a big dip from previous years' rates ranging from 21 percent to 48.9 percent.

Meanwhile, from January to June, a total of 194 Chinese films hit the screens, accounting for 39 percent of the total box office, while the 41 foreign films contributed to the other 61 percent.

Among the 10 films with the highest revenues, only three were domestic films, with "Kung Fu Yoga" starring Jackie Chan in second place, taking 1.75 billion (260 million U.S. dollars).

Foreign films, including "Despicable Me 3", "Baby Driver" and "Cars 3", are expected to be big challengers to domestic films.

Several Chinese films have rearranged their dates of release to avoid clashing with their foreign rivals.

At the same time, lack of blockbusters has been bothering the Chinese film industry this year.

The newly-released film "Brotherhood of Blades 2" only earned around 200 million yuan (29.6 million U.S. dollars).

The booming Chinese film market has been cooling down since 2016.

The total box office last year exceeded 45 billion yuan (6.77 billion U.S. dollars), far off the estimated 60 billion yuan (8.9 billion U.S. dollars) at the beginning of the year.

The 3.73-percent year-on-year increase is a disappointing contrast to previous year's 48.7 percent rise.

However, most insiders took the slowdown positively, saying that the Chinese film market has been turning towards a more reasonable direction.

"The quantity of our film supply has been increasing, but the efficiency of the supply has been declining. What we need to address is how to elevate the quality of the domestic films, so as to raise the efficiency and to rationalize the supply structure," said Ren Zhonglun, chairman of Shanghai Film Group, in an interview with Guangming Daily.

"The domestic films should show more respect to the audience," said Wang Zhonglei, Huayi Brothers Media Corp., adding that the Chinese audiences' percipient and aestheticism have been much elevated in recent years, and therefore requiring high-quality films.

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