BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- China this year overtook Japan to become the world’s second-biggest movie market, after Hollywood. Analysts forecast that by 2020, China’s box office will surpass the US. But as Martina Fuchs finds out, a shortage of movie screens is slowing growth.
Tickets are selling like hot cakes.
China is now the second-largest market in the world by box office revenue, bigger than Bollywood and closing fast on Hollywood.
In 2012, official figures show that ticket sales brought in a total of 2.7 billion US dollars, a jump of 30 percent compared to 2011.
Although this is still far below the United States, growth is gathering pace. Analysts estimate that China’s box office will surpass the US by 2020.
Catherine Liu, analyst of Entgroup, said, "By the end of September this year, the total box office has already matched the number of last year. It is expected to reach 3.3 billion US dollars this year. In the meantime, movie-goers totaled 470 million people last year and by the end of September this year, the number surpassed that of last year."
Forecasts suggest that up to 600 million people will go to the movies in China this year.
Cinema managers say their businesses are witnessing fresh records.
Wang Rui, Duty Manager of Megabox Beijing, said, "So far this year, our box office has reached about 37 million yuan."
The boom mainly comes thanks to a massive construction wave of cinemas and the rise in consumption power.
CCTV reporter Martina Fuchs said, "This cinema is one example of the thousands of theatres that have been built across China in recent years. It is estimated that 10 new cinema screens sprout up in the country every single day, adding to the already huge number of 13,000.”
Despite a desire for more entertainment, given China’s huge 1.3 billion population, the country is still severly underscreened.
To reach the US level of screen density per capita, analysts say that a further 150,000 screens need to be built.