China’s box office grew by 27% to reach $3.6bn (RMB21.8bn) in 2013, compared to $2.8bn (RMB17bn) the previous year.

The figures were released by the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Local productions grossed $2bn (RMB12.8bn), an increase of 54.3% compared to the previous year, which resulted in a market share of 58.7% according to Film Bureau chief Zhang Hongsen. In 2012, the year that the import quota was first expanded to 34 revenue-sharing titles, local films had a market share of only 48%. 

Zhang also said that the number of Chinese films produced had decreased from 745 in 2012 to 638 in 2013. The number of screens in China increased by 5,077 in 2013 for a total of around 18,200. Meanwhile, 45 local films were sold to overseas markets in 2013, achieving a combined box office tally of $173 (RMB1.06bn).

Stephen Chow’s Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, released over Chinese New Year, was the top grosser of the year with an impressive tally of $203m.

Among local films, Journey was followed by actress Vicky Zhao Wei’s directorial debut So Young ($117m), Tsui Hark’s 3D action adventure Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon ($98m) and Feng Xiaogang’s satirical comedy Personal Tailor ($95m), which is still on release.

Of the three US studio films that made it into the top ten, Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 took $123m for second place in the year-end chart. The film had Chinese scenes and characters, filmed by local partner DMG Entertainment, but didn’t achieve its goal of becoming an official co-production.

The second biggest US release of the year, Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ Pacific Rim, grossed $114m for fourth place in the chart, more than its US tally of just over $100m. November release Gravity also made the top ten with a final gross of $72m.

Although the overall market share of the US studios declined in 2013, they still experienced growth by taking a smaller share of an expanding pie. Sony announced that its China takings grew by 22% to $212.7m on the back of releases such as Skyfall ($60.4m), After Earth (34.4m) and White House Down ($27.6m).

US independent Lionsgate also had an exceptional year in China, grossing a combined $116.3m through releases such as Escape Plan ($40m), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($28m) and Now You See Me ($23m).

Upcoming releases include Universal’s long-delayed Despicable Me 2, which is scheduled to open on January 10.


1.Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons (Feb 10) $203m (RMB1.24bn)

2.Iron Man 3 (May 1) $123m (RMB753m)

3.So Young (Apr 26) $117m (RMB717.3m)

4.Pacific Rim (July 31) $114m (RMB694.3m)

5.Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon (Sep 28) $98m (RMB601.3m)

6. Personal Tailor (Dec 19) $95m (RMB582m)*

7.American Dreams In China (May 17) $88m (RMB537.8m)

8.Finding Mr Right (Mar 21) $85m (RMB518.3m)

9.Tiny Times (Jun 27) $79m (RMB483.1m)

10.Gravity (Nov 19) $72m (RMB440m)

*Still on release

Source: EntGroup, Screen International