On Screen China: Summer Slump Sees July Drop 18% from A Year Earlier

  • July gross BO was RMB 4.508 billion ($678 million), down 18% from July 2015.
  • Month was the third this year—following April and May—in which the Chinese BO shrank year-on-year
  • Domestic films dominated the July box office charts in July, accounting for 74% of monthly ticket sales.

Chinese animal lovers gather to support The Secret Life of Pets (China Film Group Corporation).

Total July ticket sales at the Chinese box office reached RMB 4.508 billion ($678 million) 1905.com, the official website of state-run China Movie Channel, said.

The July monthly total dropped 18% from July 2015, and the month was the third this year—following April and May—in which the Chinese box office shrank from the correlating month a year earlier.

Despite claims that Chinese film regulators had abandoned the long-held practice of shutting out imported films during the height of the summer movie season, domestic films still dominated the box office charts in July, accounting for 74% of monthly ticket sales.

Top 10 Films, July 1-July 31, in Total Revenue in millions of RMB

Skiptrace (绝地逃亡)734
Cold War 2 (寒战2)670
Big Fish & Begonia (大鱼海棠)559
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (忍者神龟2)393
Never Gone (致青春·原来你还在这里)336
The Legend of Tarzan (泰山归来:险战丛林)278
Bounty Hunters (赏金猎人)213
League Of Gods (封神传奇)201
Now You See Me 2 (惊天魔盗团2)196
When Larry Met Sally (陆垚知马俐)188


North America vs China Box Office
As the Chinese box office continues to inch closer to overtaking North America as the world’s highest-grossing film market, CFI will track monthly box office comparisons between the two territories. North American data comes from our syndication partners at BoxOffice.com and Chinese data is provided by Artisan Gateway.


2016 Year-to-Date Box Office Comparison in U.S.$

MonthNorth AmericaChina


On Screen This Week

The Secret Life of Pets (爱宠大机密)

China Distribution: China Film Group Corporation (中国电影股份有限公司)
U.S. Distribution: Universal Pictures

Illumination Entertainment, the animation production company owned by Universal Studios, has a solid track record in China; last year’s Minions grossed a solid RMB 436 million ($68.6 million), and Despicable Me 2 earned RMB 324 million ($53.1 million) in 2014.

The Secret Life of Pets strikes a similar kid-centric tone and will likely reach RMB 400 million-450 million ($60-$70 million). The film’s producers will hope it plays strongly in first and second-tier Chinese cities, where pet ownership is on the rise , and with younger families or couples who are more likely than other demographics to own cats and dogs.

Time Raiders (盗墓笔记)

China Distribution: Le Vision Pictures (乐视影业有限公司)
U.S. Distribution: Chopflix / Magnum Films

This summer’s last hope for a film that might gross RMB 1 billion ($150 million), Time Raiders is based on the best-selling online novel series Grave Robbers’ Chronicles. The series has a massive following and the inclusion of Star Wars ambassador and pretty-boy Lu Han should bring out the fans on opening weekend.

Time Raiders is the third film released in 10 months centered on tomb-raiding, but early word of mouth criticizing the film’s cheesy visual effects and awful acting means Time Raiders is more likely to reach the heights of Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (RMB 683 million), than Mojin: The Lost Legend (RMB 1.682 billion).