China is poised to overtake Japan in the movie market by the end of 2012.
For 2011, Japan’s movie revenue reached 2.3 billion dollars, 300 million dollars more than China’s movie revenue. However, recent figures for this year so far show that China is ahead.
For the first eight weeks of the year, Pacific Bridge Pictures, a market researcher firm, reports that China’s total movie gross was 426 million dollars, while Japan only has 259 million dollars.
According to Robert Cain, a Pacific Bridge partner, China’s movie industry has increased 30 percent from ten years ago. The rising economy of China has led to more people wanting to go to the movies, and right now, China has more movie theaters than Japan, 10,000 compared to only 3,400 for the Land of the Rising Sun.
Cain even mentioned that China’s market would surpass that of the U.S. “probably around the end of this decade.” That is mostly due to the increasing support that the Chinese have for their homegrown movies. In fact, last year’s highest grossing film is “Flowers of War”, a film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Academy Award winning actor Christian Bale. The film generated 70 million dollars.
Hollywood movies are also doing great in China. “Titanic 3-D” got 67 million dollars from the first weekend alone, a record in the country. “Titanic 3-D” had better success in China than in the U.S. during the first weekend, which got 17.3 million dollars.
In Japan, the highest grossing film is “Kokuriko-zaka Kara”, an animated film whose title translates to “From Up on Poppy Hill.” The movie made 55 million dollars, but for the first time, a Japanese production was unable to reach 60 million dollars.