Imports Dominate June with 88% of Box Office, Push First Half of 2017 to New Heights

After 2016’s significant slowdown, the Chinese box office has gotten its mojo back this year, largely thanks to the performance of imported films, and once again looks headed toward double digit growth.

The chart above plots China’s daily total box office* as well as the highest-grossing film per day during the month of June. Five Hollywood films led the daily charts in June — Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Wonder Woman, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, and Transformers: The Last KnightTransformers held the daily crown longest: 9 days.

Imported films accounted for the top seven highest-grossing films in June and earned a whopping 88% of the month’s total RMB 3.675 billion ($540 million) in ticket sales. Still, adjusted to remove ticketing fees, June’s box office fell slightly from last June’s RMB 3.866 billion.

Year to date, the Chinese box office has now grossed RMB 25.5 billion ($3.75 billion), a 3.7% jump from the first half of 2016. The 52 imported films (including both revenue-sharing and flat-fee imports) released in the first six months of this year have accounted for 61.7% of the total box office, while domestic films continue their sluggish performance: 169 films released by local distributors made up just 38.3% of total ticket sales.

Regulators will give a leg up to domestic films in July with an unofficial blackout period, but the 50-50 split in imported/domestic box office revenue sought by year’s end is likely out of reach for 2017.

*All listed grosses in this article are adjusted to remove online ticketing fees. For a primer on why CFI reports this way, see here.