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China’s box office swept past the symbolic 40 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) milestone for 2015 as of Thursday night local Beijing time, marking growth of more than 48 percent percent over the same period last year, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Local Chinese films accounted for $3.7 billion (23.7 billion yuan), more than 59 percent of the total box office earnings for the year to date. The release schedule for the popular movie-going period of December is packed with Chinese tentpoles, so China is expected to further extend its lead over Hollywood for the year.
In 2014, Chinese homegrown films accounted for 54.5 percent of total box office.
Four of the top 10 titles of the year in China so far have been Hollywood imports: Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation.
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.
According SARFT, there are now an estimated 6,200 urban cinemas with more than 30,000 screens in total across China. An estimated 15 new screens open in China every day.
As of 2014, North America had an estimated 39,956 screens in operation, serving a population one-fourth the size of China’s, according to screen figures from the National Association of Theater Owners.
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