January 1, 2018 / 5:16 AM / 3 years ago

China box office posts turnaround in 2017 with 13 percent growth

FILE PHOTO: People wearing 3D glasses watch the movie "The LEGO Batman Movie" at a media event in a movie theatre in Shanghai, China February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s movie box office revenue rose 13.45 percent last year to 55.91 billion yuan ($8.59 billion), more than tripling the 2016 growth rate as foreign films won a larger share of ticket sales compared to the previous year, said the Xinhua News Agency.

Domestic films recorded ticket sales of 30.1 billion yuan in 2017, accounting for 54 percent of total box office, Xinhua reported on Sunday, citing data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television. Domestic films in 2016 accounted for 58 percent of total box office.

China is the second-largest movie market globally after the United States, though it already has more total movie screens after years of rapid expansion in theater networks.

China added 9,597 screens last year to reach 50,776 in total, the media regulator said. That compares to just over 40,000 screens in the United States, according to data from U.S.-based National Association of Theatre Owners.

The movie “Wolf Warrior 2” was China’s highest-grossing film last year, raking in 5.68 billion yuan in ticket sales.

After disappointing box office growth in 2016, regulators announced that all sales grosses would include service fees for each ticket purchased online. This boosted last year’s growth, although moviemakers see little of the additional revenue.

Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Michael Perry

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