China Box Office Hits $4.7B, Races Past 2014 Total

On track for a record year, China is expected to overtake North America to become the world's largest film market within three years.

China's box office has topped $4.71 billion (30 billion yuan) so far this year, racing past the full-year total of 29.6 billion yuan for 2014 as the country's film market continues its rapid expansion.

The current total represents 48.5 percent growth over the same period in 2014 and puts China on track to hit $6.28 billion (40 billion yuan) for 2015, state news agency Xinhua said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). 

The Chinese movie market is now widely expected to overtake the North American box office within three years to become the largest film market in the world.

Box-office receipts in the United States and Canada combined fell 5 percent last year but still hit $10.4 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.  

In the face of stiff competition from Hollywood, local Chinese films have pulled in $2.83 billion (18 billion yuan) so far this year, 60 percent of the total, according to SARFT. In 2014, Chinese homegrown films accounted for 54.5 percent of the total box office. 

Individual films also continue to set new box-office records in China. In April, Universal's Furious 7 became the highest-grossing film ever in the country, pulling in $390.91 million. Chinese CG/live-action fantasy epic Monster Hunt is a close second, grossing $379.07 million since its release on July 16.

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