Box office revenue in China declined sharply during the first three days of the National Day holiday compared with last year. It was the first plunge of holiday ticket sales in five years.
According to the latest figures from China Box Office, a State-run analyst, four major openings injected nearly 1.3 billion yuan ($195 million) in ticket sales since the start of the holiday, traditionally a golden week for moviegoers.
But sales in the first three days stood at 774 million yuan, 10 percent behind the same period last year.
I Belonged to You, a romance film adapted from Zhang Jiajia's popular short story collection, took the chance of a Thursday release, right before the start of the holiday, and has accumulated 482 million yuan－first in the rankings so far.
The Hong Kong-produced action film Operation Mekong, which was released on Friday, the first day of the Oct 1-7 holiday, scored nearly 356 million yuan, taking second place, according to China Box Office.
The third-place film was L.O.R.D.－Legend of Ravaging Dynasties, a contemporary fantasy directed by Tiny Times novelist-turned-filmmaker Guo Jingming and stuffed with stars including Fan Bingbing and Kris Wu.
In fourth was the Chinese comedy action adventure Mission Milano.
Zhou Xing, head of the School of Arts and Media at Beijing Normal University, said the Chinese film market is adjusting itself since growth peaked in 2015.
"The drop in the first three days of the holiday is unexpected. However, the decline is inevitable, as the quality of domestic films is not satisfactory," Zhou said.
Domestic film production lacks creativity and artistic value, Zhou said, expressing hope that more domestic culture will be included in films and less copying from existing ideas in filmmaking.
Chinese movie theaters performed well in 2015, taking in 44 billion yuan in ticket sales, up 48.7 percent from 2014.
The first quarter of this year was also strong, with an increase in box office sales of 50 percent over last year.
The box office of Wanda Cinema Line Corp, China's largest theater chain, soared by 61.4 percent during the period.
The second quarter was a turning point. China's box office revenue declined by 10 percent year-on-year, the first drop in five years.