China Headed for $2 Billion Box Office Record in 2011

'Avatar' powered China's box office to record gross and growth in 2010.

Gross will be up again, but growth will slow by more than half for the year.

China’s box office will likely set another record for total gross of about $2 billion in 2011, but the rate of growth has slowed significantly, local media reported Wednesday.

The world’s third-largest film market grew to 10 billion yuan ($1.56 billion) in 2010, and will likely hit 13 billion yuan this year, but will grow at a rate closer to 30% this year, rather than 64% from 2009 to 2010, according to the newly published “Blue Book of China’s Culture 2011.”

In 2010, local box office was helped by two record-setting films: Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar, which took $200 million to become China’s all-time box office champion, and Huayi Brothers’ Aftershock, which took in over $90 million and reigned as the highest-grossing domestic film until it was unseated by Let The Bullets Fly earlier this year.

State-run English-language newspaper China Daily cited China’s slowing gross domestic product (GDP) as a primary reason for the slowdown in growth despite record numbers. China now boasts over 6,000 cinema screens, helping to push numbers higher as films become more accessible to audiences in more remote areas.