China Overtakes US with Almost 41,000 Movie Screens

A decade of construction and the world’s second-largest movie market have pushed Chinese theaters to the top.

Photo: Wanda Cinema Line

Photo: Wanda Cinema Line

China now has the most cinema screens of any country in the world, capping a decade of construction that saw it add more than 20 movie screens per day, China’s state-run media reported Tuesday, citing statistics released by the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film, and Television.

The country will end the year with just under 41,000 screens, pipping the United States, which had 40,759 as of May 2016, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Eighty-five percent of China’s screens are 3-D, which is now considered “standard,” the report said. The average cinema offers 5.6 screens, also making the multiplex a “mainstream” design.

Wanda Cinema Line is China’s largest exhibitor, with 2,700 screens. A Wanda investment earlier this year is also set to make China the world’s largest market for the IMAX format, with about 600 screens now available.

China’s cinema construction boomed hand-in-hand with the growth of its movie market since 2003. It remains the world’s number two movie market, with expected revenue for 2016 above 2015’s mark of RMB 44 billion (US$6.33 billion).