China Box Office to Top $4.9 Billion in 2014, Says Industry Body

Transformers Optimus Prime Sword - H 2014

Transformers Optimus Prime Sword - H 2014

The Chinese Film Producer's Association made the prediction at a film industry expo on Sunday

The Chinese box office is expected to hit $4.9 billion (30 billion yuan) in 2014, according to the Chinese Film Producer's Association (CFPA), reported state news agency Xinhua on Monday.

The CFPA's vice president Wang Fenglin told an film industry expo in Wuhan that China's box office had reached $3.59 billion (22 billion yuan) for the January-to-September period, topping the $3.55 billion (21.8 billion) for the same period last year.

Wang also said that domestic films accounted for 51.4 percent of the market while imported films were 48.6 percent and that a total of 230 films were shown in mainstream cinemas in the first nine months of 2014.

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Although the CFPA touted the $4.9 billion figure, the $5 billion mark looks within reach. A slew of big releases are set to hit theaters in the last two months of the year, and key moviegoing dates such as Singles' Day (Nov. 11) and Christmas are still to come. 

China recently announced the final six foreign movies to be included in its quota of 34 films per year, and some of the big releases expected to do well and add fuel to total box office numbers include DreamWorks Animation's Penguins of Madagascar, Warner Bros.' Interstellar and Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.

There are one or two big domestic releases to come as well including Jiang Wen's 3D epic Gone With the Bullets, a sequel to 2010's wildly successful Let the Bullets Fly, due to open in December.

Xinhua reported that Wang was bullish on the prospects for the Chinese film market, already the second biggest in the world. He said China should overtake the U.S. as the No. 1 film market within three years, as the number of screens and revenues are still growing by 30 percent annually.  

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