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Puffed-up popcorn profits showcase Chinese cinema boom

2014-03-20 13:29 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing
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The astonishing amount of popcorn sold in 2013 by China's biggest cinema chain has showcased the explosive growth of the country's movie industry.

According to figures published on the website of Wanda Cinema Line Corp., it sold 390 million yuan's (63 million U.S. dollars) worth of popcorn last year, constituting 72 percent of its concession product sales, or 9.5 percent of its total 4.1 billion yuan taken in revenues in the 12 months.

China's film industry is still learning from the Hollywood model, whether in producing high-quality movies or in the way it makes money, Huang Qunfei, general manager of the Beijing New Film Association, a Beijing cinema chain, told Xinhua.

Explaining the new push behind popcorn sales, Huang said, "It is very common to have an 80-percent profit margin in selling popcorn due to its low costs. Although tickets sales make up the largest share of revenues, popcorn and snacks can sometimes contribute more to profits."

Huang said that he had witnessed a steady rise in popcorn sales, and expected more in the future as movie watching habits take shape step by step.

Zhao Minran, manager of a Wanda cinema in Zhenjiang of east China's Jiangsu Province, said that due to a huge wave of people returning home for the Spring Festival, the multiplex sold one and a half times the amount of popcorn it was expecting to sell in February, when some 30 percent of viewers bought the snack.

Zhao said the cinema is considering adding a new flavor of popcorn in addition to plain and caramel, which is Chinese viewers' favorite.

"Popcorn has become a flagship category in the concession stand," she added.

The high popcorn sales reflect China's rapidly growing movie market and boom in cinema building.

According to film market research company Entgroup, there are now about 18,000 screens in China, compared with 3,000 in 2007. The market registered 21.8 billion yuan in ticket sales in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 54.3 percent.

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