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With Asia and especially China now crucial markets for Hollywood films — The Angry Birds Movie had China’s third-largest animated film opening last week, grossing $29 million — American Airlines is adding flights to Asian business centers and hiring flight attendants fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese to work the flights.
Following the debut of American’s nonstop service from LAX to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in February, the airline announced that it will add new flights to Hong Kong in September and, pending regulatory approval, Beijing in December.
International markets now account for more than 71 percent of total box office revenues: In 2015, the $38 billion international box office dwarfed North America’s record $11 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America,
Last year, the Asian Pacific region’s box office increased 13 percent while China’s soared 49 percent to $6.8 billion, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the region’s revenues. China is now the world’s second-largest moviegoing market and is expected to overtake North America as the leader by the end of 2017.
“The entertainment industry in the Asia-Pacific region is huge, with demand and a high volume of traffic in both directions,” Kyle Mabry, managing director of western sales at American Airlines, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Having multilingual customer service means that we are trusted to look after A-list talent, industry execs and crews, whatever their first language may be.”
In addition to serving as a reliable market for American tentpoles like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which has grossed $95 million in China since opening in March, the country has a burgeoning homegrown movie industry that is attracting Hollywood filmmakers who travel there to tap into the abundant financing, The Wall Street Journal r reported.
The flight attendants for American’s Asia flights are in addition to 400 new customer-support employees the airline has added as it expands service at LAX. American currently employs more than 5,000 at its LAX base and last year flew 14 million passengers on 220 daily departures from the airport.
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