China Box Office Surges 22 Percent to $2.16 Billion in First Half of 2014

"The Monkey King" was the highest grossing film of 2014 in China so far.

Led by "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Hollywood movies were back on top in the first six months of 2014, taking 52 percent of total box office.

The Chinese box office grew to $2.16 billion (13.4 billion yuan) in the first half of 2014, up 22 percent from last year.

Domestic movies accounted for $1.04 billion (6.45 billion yuan), or 48 percent, while foreign movies accounted for $1.12 billion (6.95 billion yuan), or 52 percent, according to M1905, the official website of the state broadcaster’s movie channel, CCTV6.

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Of the top 10 movies in the first half of the year in the world’s second biggest film market, four were Chinese, and the remaining six were from Hollywood.

The biggest movie of the year so far has been local fantasy epic The Monkey King. Hong Kong director Cheang Pou-soi's 3D fantasy epic took $170 million.

The biggest-selling foreign movie was the 20th Century Fox tentpole X-Men: Days of Future Past, which has taken nearly $118 million so far, and which benefited from Hugh Jackman and Peter Dinklage visiting Beijing to do promotional duties.

In third place was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with $115 million, and the reality TV adaptation Where Are We Going, Dad? with $112 million.

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In fifth place, already, was Transformers: Age of Extinction, which is on track to be the biggest-selling movie of all time in the country but had only been showing for four days by the cutoff point for the six-month box office data. In those four days, M1905 said, the film took $100.46 million (623 million yuan).

Thirty-one films made more than 100 million yuan ($16.12 million) during the period, a key marker in measuring Chinese box office. Fourteen were local films, and 17 were imported titles. 

For purposes of comparison, in 2011, the first-half box office was $920 million, rising to $1.3 billion in 2012; it was $1.77 billion in the first half of last year. In the past four years, first-half box office has grown by 20 percent a year.

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China’s overall movie box-office sales rose 27 percent to $3.6 billion in 2013, according to data released by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Last year, China became the first international market to exceed $3 billion in box office, according to the MPAA.

Of the top 10 grossing movies last year in China, seven were domestic films.