China boxoffice to hit 4 billion yuan

Domestic take should rise about 20% in 2008

SHANGHAI -- Chinese boxoffice earnings are expected to hit the 4 billion yuan ($580 million) mark this year, breaking 2007's record take of 3.3 billion yuan, state-owned China Film Group said Thursday.

Boxoffice earnings already have surpassed 1.6 billion yuan in the first half, up 45% from the same period last year, the report said.

Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that sales were being pushed by a consistent rise in the number of Chinese-made films.

There were 1,489 cinemas and 3,828 screens in China at the end of June, Zhang said. Films were screened more than 2.3 million times, attracting an audience of more than 60 million.

Three China Film Group-produced films -- "CJ7," "The Warlords" and "Red Cliff" -- collected a total of 700 million yuan ($100 million) at the boxoffice, CFG president Han Sanping said.

Among these, "Red Cliff" led the way with 290 million yuan ($42.3 million).

SARFT and China Film Group were unavailable for comment as it was a holiday in Beijing on Friday for the Olympics.