Chinese actor-director Wu Jing's Wolf Warrior 2 and Zhang Yimou's fantasy epic The Great Wall are among the most successful Chinese movies overseas this year.(Photo provided to China Daily)
China's box-office earnings have surpassed 50 billion yuan for the first time, with domestic movies doing better than imported titles.
Propelled by the success of Wolf Warrior 2 - this year's fifth-highest-grossing movie worldwide - China's box-office takings have exceeded 50 billion yuan ($7.58 billion) for the first time, a historic annual high.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the country's top regulator of the sectors, released the record figures for the year on Nov 20 - around 40 days before year-end.
On top of this, Chinese cinemas registered 1.45 billion admissions for the same period, an increase of 19 percent year-on-year, according to the administration.
Domestic movies edged out imported titles to rake in 26.2 billion yuan, accounting for 52.4 percent of the total box-office revenue. Foreign movies released in China took in 23.8 billion yuan, or 47.6 percent of box-office takings.
The rise in blockbusters saw 13 movies respectively gross more than 1 billion yuan, four more than last year. At the same time, 82 movies screened this year earned more than 100 million yuan each.
Wolf Warrior 2, the Chinese Special Operation Forces-themed action thriller, has topped the country's box-office charts with earnings of up to 5.68 billion yuan. It is followed by The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the Hollywood car-racing franchise, with earnings of 2.67 billion yuan.
Chinese comedy Never Say Die seized the third slot with 2.2 billion yuan. Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga took fourth place with 1.75 billion yuan, followed by Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's fantasy drama Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, which took in 1.65 billion yuan.
The remaining five of the top 10 movies on the box-office charts were all import. They are, respectively: Transformers: The Last Knight; Dangal; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Kong: Skull Island; and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.
With the release of Chinese movies expected to gather pace over the coming weeks, such as Chen Kaige's Legend of the Demon Cat and Feng Xiaogang's Youth, some industry watchers estimate that this year's total box-office earnings could reach 55 billion yuan by the end of December.
Taking into account the current growth rate, Miao Xiaotian, general manager of China Film Co-Production Corp, predicts that China will overtake the United States to become the world's market leader within at least three years.
"The movie industry expanded too quickly between 2012 and 2015. Despite growth experiencing a slowdown since last year, it has been good to see a shift toward more stable and sound development," says Miao.