Bona Film Group Sees Quarterly Revenues Soar as China Market Booms

White Haired Witch Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Bona Film Group

White Haired Witch Still - H 2014

A wide slate allows the distributor and studio to reach more audiences than ever

Chinese film studio and distributor Bona Film Group recorded a strong rise in revenues and earnings in the third quarter, largely down to the success of its slate in the world's second biggest film market.

Net revenues in Q3 2014 were up 186 percent at $100 million, while earnings were up 164 percent at $16.5 million, the group said in a statement.

"We delivered a solid financial performance that was driven largely by the historic success of our films during the summer box office, as our film slate has underscored our ability to reach a wider moviegoing audience than ever before," said Bona founder, chairman and CEO Yu Dong.

In July, Bona announced a major shake-up of its ownership structure, with investment group Fosun upping its stake in the company to 20.8 percent. Yu bought back 21st Century Fox's entire 19.3 percent holding in the company for $71.4 million.

"The great progress we have made so far this year reflects the strength of our vertically integrated business model, which enables us to scale our business across the entire entertainment industry value chain, taking full advantage of the booming Chinese film market," said Yu.

During the period, net revenues from Bona's distribution business were $79.1 million, when it distributed four films — Han Han's road movie The Continent, The White-Haired Witch, Jacob Cheung's box-office topping 3D fantasy epic featuring Fan Bingbing, Pompeii by Paul W.S. Anderson and Non-Stop featuring Liam Neeson.

Net revenues from film investment and production were $18.6 million, which mainly came from The White-Haired Witch.

Bona said net revenues from the movie theater segment increased to $21.8 million, mainly due to new theaters maturing over time.

Earlier this week, Bona signed a three theater deal with the giant screen operator Imax to open new screens in Wuhan and Taiyuan and a third in its Beijing headquarters, bringing its tally of Imax theaters in China to four.

During the quarter, Bona also completed principal photography and began post production work on The Sword Master, directed by Derek Yee and produced by Tsui Hark.

It also wrapped principal photography in October The Man from Macau 2, directed by Wong Jing, produced by Andrew Lau and featuring Chow Yun fat, Nick Cheung, Carina Lau, Tong Fei, Shawn Yue and Angela Wang. The first installment of the movie was a big hit for Bona in the first quarter, and the sequel is scheduled for release during the 2015 Chinese New Year holiday.

Wang Yuelun's Emperor Holidays completed principal photography in October and is also set for a Chinese New Year release.

Earlier this month, Bona completed upgrades to the information systems at all Bona theaters, which will allow the analysis of demographic data about theater patrons and film-viewing habits.