China's 2014 Box Office Hits 10 Billion Yuan Milestone in Record Time

"The Monkey King"

The country's box office total reached $1.6 billion a month earlier than last year, with domestic titles leading the way, but Hollywood releases also doing big business.

Chinese box office broke through the key threshold of 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) on May 21, with domestic fantasy epic The Monkey King topping the local charts for the year so far, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

It took 141 days for China to hit the 10-billion-yuan mark, which is a month faster than last year, according to M1905, the official website of the state broadcaster’s movie channel, CCTV6.

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China’s movie box office sales rose 27 percent to $3.6 billion in 2013, according to data released by the Motion Picture Association of America, reinforcing China’s position as the world’s second-largest film market. Based on the latest figures, it appears on track to reach $5 billion this year. 

There were 24 films during the period that made over $16 million (100 million yuan), and in total they accounted for 1.3 billion (8.125 billion yuan), or 81 percent of the box office.

Half of the 24 films were Chinese movies, with revenues of $670 million (4.2 billion yuan) and 12 were imported with revenues of $630 million (3.9 billion yuan).

From January 1 through the end of April, box office totals increased 25 period compared to the same period last year. In the top spots, Hong Kong director Pou Soi Cheang's record-breaking 3D fantasy epic took $170 million, followed by $115 million for Captain America and $112 million for the reality TV adaptation Where Are We Going, Dad?

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is still showing, was behind that with $88 million and Wong Jing's The Man From Macau, featuring Hong Kong legend Chow Yun-fat, took $84 million.

In sixth place was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with $74 million, followed by My Old Classmate with $72.5 million.

Need For Speed was in eighth place with $67 million; Beijing Love Story took ninth with $65 million and Despicable Me 2 fell in tenth with $52 million.

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

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