The Chinese box office rose by 44% during 2009 to reach $910m (RMB6.2bn), its highest growth rate for six years.

Since 2003, the country’s box office gross has grown continuously at an average rate of 30%. In 2008, the growth rate was 27%.

China Film Group Corporation spokesperson Weng Li announced the figures after receiving the data during a meeting with officials of State Administration Of Radio Film And Television (SARFT), however it has yet to reveal complete figures.

Hollywood blockbusters such as 2012, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Princeand Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs performed strongly. 2012 and Transformers claimed the top two places at the box office and each broke the RMB400m mark with $67.5m (RMB461.02m) and $63m (RMB430.29m), respectively. Local film Founding Of A Republic (pictured) garnered $61.49m (RMB420m).

Beijing’s exhibitors attributed box office growth to the surge in new cinemas – especially multiplexes – being developed within large shopping malls. There has also be a surge in cinema-going among young people and China’s growing middle class.

According to Weng, by the end of 2009 there were 4,700 screens including 750 3D screens and 1,800 digital screens, representing a rise of 603 screens from 2008. In terms of production, there were 456 local films produced in 2009, a rise of 56 from the previous year.  

China Top 10 films 2009

1. 2012 - $67.5m (RMB461.02m)

2. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen - $63m (RMB430.29m)

3. Founding Of A Republic - $61.49m (RMB420m)

4. Red Cliff II - $37.92m (RMB259m)

5. A Simple Noodle Story - $34m (RMB232.22m)*

6. Bodyguards And Assassins - $30.45m (RMB208m)*

7. City Of Life And Death - $25.18m (RMB172m)

8. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - $22.99m (RMB157m)

9. Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs - $22.84m (RMB156m)

10. G.I. Joe - $19.6m (RMB133.87m)

* Still in release

Source: Screen International