With 2021 opening to much hope of a booming box office recovery worldwide, we see China end the tumultuous 2020 year as the largest global box office market. While this isn’t, perhaps, too startling under the unique 2020 circumstances, it’s still an achievement well worth examining- and BLAKE & WANG P.A has all the information you need.

China becomes the top-grossing market for films

Current estimates of the January 1 takings come in at RMB 600M, or $92M, for the Chinese market. It’s notable, as the amount far surpassed previous years, let alone 2020 takings in other areas of the globe. Also remarkable is the fact it’s mostly generated by one local title that has taken the market by storm. The booming success of A Little Red Flower (RMB 740M ($113.3M) and counting) was mostly through word of mouth, not even slick advertising. Hailing from the Go Away, Mr. Tumor director Yan Han, its popularity seems only to be growing through the run.

It’s not entirely shocking that China has finally passed the North American market, given the slump in U.S domestic takings caused by the global health crisis. Those in the know have been predicting the possibility of this being the year China comes out tops since October 2020. The entirety of the Middle Kingdom Box Office sits between $2.74B-$3.12B currently, depending on whether you opt for the China Film Administration’s numbers or Comscore’s. The domestic box office hovers at a similar $2.28B.

What is the difference between China and the U.S this year?

Unlike the U.S film industry, which is still battling to cope with high infection rates and varying state lockdowns, China has had a strong bounce-back from the pandemic. People are both able to and confident to venture out of the home and watch films in a cinema. Despite the loss of their typically lucrative Lunar New Year showings in 2020, they hit it big with The Eight Hundred, currently the worldwide largest movie for 2020 at $461M, most of which was generated in China domestically. 2 other Chinese titles feature in the top 10, too.

It’s possibly not all pandemic related, however. It has been speculated that the day where the Middle Kingdom surpassed the U.S domestic was fated to arrive regardless and soon, though whether this day would have arrived in 2020 without the health crisis to lend it a hand is up for speculation. The trend will likely continue through 2021, however. We’re currently re-entering the New Year season for the market as of February 12, with the looming specter of Detective Chinatown 3 ready to pull in bucks. Meanwhile, A Little Red Flower and Warm Hug continue to attract local audiences in droves. Even Disney/Pixar’s Soul is performing well in the local market, taking over $25M in 10 days.

Will the Chinese boom be a once-off or a continuing global trend? It’s too early to say, but BLAKE & WANG P.A will keep you informed either way.

Blake & Wang P.A is an Entertainment Attorney who deals with film, tv and music law. The main areas of specialty are contracting, licensing, taxation, intellectual property rights and more. Get in touch now!

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Hi, I have written many articles on film law, music law and tv law. Also, I have written articles on intellectual property rights, copyrights and more.

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