2009 Box Office Review - China- Part 2
China is now the world’s second biggest territory in terms of digital screens with its rollout of d-cinema and 3D systems in the mainland. According to Yang Buting, chairman of China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, China now has 1,388 2K D-cinema screens of which around 500 can play 3D. With governmental assistance, cinemas have been upgraded in part to be a global leader in digital media. Hollywood 3D films are allowed to bypass import quotas, so long as they have 3D-only releases, and state-owned China Film is acting as a digital cinema integrator. By November 2009, a total of 102 movies had been released in digital formats, grossing a combined ¥1.14 billion, compared to 62 digital titles grossing ¥520 million in 2008.
Local player Time Antaeus, a real estate turned exhibition company, has already installed 895 DCI-compliant screens across China and aims to hit 2,000 by the end of 2010. Major South Korean exhibitor CJ CGV partnered with local exhibitor Xingxing and is set to open its third multiplex in China– the CGV Wuhan – located in the capital of Hubei Province, which will have six screens, 940 seats and 3D projection. The exhibitor launched into the China market in 2006 and has two other multiplexes in Shanghai. CGV is said to expand to Beijing and other cities with more than 30 multiplexes within five years.
A variety of film genres are beginning to get introduced in China. Previously, exhibition had chased the biggest films for the most money and the market had not been segmented, which allows different audiences to be targeted at the same time. But this year, black comedies like “Cow,” chick flicks such as “Sophie's Revenge” starring Zhang Ziyi and sci-fi films including “Metallic Attraction,” were screened and well received. Perfect World Co. Ltd., a leading online game developer based in Beijing, invested in “Sophie's Revenge” in hope of positive exposure for one of their games.
Ellen Pittleman, http://hybridentus.com, is a veteran studio executive based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she served as SVP, International Co-Productions and Worldwide Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures. She also launched the DVD Premiere group there, with films including Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and the sequel to the $100MM+ “Save the Last Dance.” Working from a marketing and distribution perspective, she consults on strategic planning, deal negotiation, acquisitions, film library valuation and feature development with clients from Rio to London to Beijing. She’s also currently developing a feature on George Foreman’s comeback years, among other projects.