Outlining its 14th “Five-Year Plan” for the development of Chinese films, the China Film Administration has said it plans to increase the number of movie screens in the country to 100,000 by 2025. Good news, and along with that, the regulator will be promoting 10 domestic blockbusters each year. This is not far off from an earlier, pre-pandemic, five-year goal, but came to light this past week as China held the 6th plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of the China Central Committee.
In 2020, China became the world’s biggest box office market, overtaking North America. This was largely due to an earlier pandemic reopening of cinemas and the performance of local titles. As of this past week, China has passed RMB 43B ($6.7B) in box office, led by propaganda title The Battle At Lake Changjin (RMB 5.65B//$884M)).
Per local media, China intends to be “a strong film power” by 2035. China is already an important market, and has been for Hollywood in the recent past (to reiterate: the split is only 25% to the studios, which can be significant depending on the local promo spend). However, the last year has seen the PRC take a pass on potential hits from Hollywood — notably Marvel movies which have traditionally been catnip to local audiences.
And, confoundingly, it has accepted movies that were already greatly available elsewhere. Just this last weekend Disney’s Jungle Cruise was treated to a dismal $3.4M – in a mrket where Dwayne Johnson is a draw. But given the lead time, piracy was a factor.
Meanwhile, where is Venom: Let There Be Carnage? The first movie was a massive hit in China at $269M+.