Headlines from China: 2018: “Darkest Hour” for China’s Film Exhibition Sector


2018: “Darkest Hour” for China’s Film Exhibition Sector

2018 is a turbulent and frustrating year for China’s film industry, including its film exhibition sector. In the first ten months of this year, over 300 theaters shut down or went through overhauls, including some of the industry giants such as Stellar Megamedia. This year, Stellar Megamedia has closed down 140 theatres due to heavy debts. It rings alarm bells for the entire industry. Over the past few years, many Chinese film exhibitors opened new theatres at an aggressive pace to win market share. In 2018, however, due to the general slowdown of movie ticket sales, the decrease in attendance rate and the end of ticket price subsidy, many movie theaters are struggling to keep their businesses running. Moving forward, it’s impressive for the sector to further consolidate itself and for each movie theater to diversify its revenue sources. Read more on entgroup.com

What We Learned from This Year’s Box Office Dark Horses

This year, many box office dark horses brought unexpectedly compelling storytelling to Chinese audiences. Here are a few examples: Forever Young, Dying to Survive, Project Gutenberg and A Cool Fish. WeChat media account yiqipaidianying took a look at this year’s dark horses and concluded the following: the market is increasingly content-driven; the influence of release date is decreasing; stories based on actual events tend to perform well; the influence of big stars is decreasing; major studios are still a dominant force in the industry as each dark horse film involves at least one major Chinese studio. Read more on yiqipaidianying

A Look at 2018 Arthouse Film Market in China

An overview of China’s arthouse film market brings both hopes and concerns. In 2018, 21 arthouse films have been approved for theatrical releases. Last year, the number was 17. Out of the 21 films, 19 have been released and grossed about 1 billion yuan at the box office, which only accounts for 1.8% of this year’s total box office (December 8). Nevertheless, it’s still much higher compared to last year’s 328 million yuan generated by the 17 films. This year’s highest-grossing arthouse film is Forever Young, which earned 700 million yuan. It is also the only arthouse film that crossed the RMB 100-million mark. The lowest-grossing one only made 79,000 yuan. This year, investors have also been showing more interest in arthouse films. In early April, Huaxia, Edko, Irresistible Film, Perfect Village Entertainment, and Maoyan jointly announced “A.R.T. Arthouse Film Plan,” investing 100 million yuan to produce 10 – 15 arthouse films in 3 – 5 years. Alibaba and Tencent also have their respective plans to finance arthouse films. Read more on entgroup.com