(Yicai Global) Dec. 11 -- China's single-year box office takings broke the CNY50 billion (USD7.6 billion) barrier for the first time as of November this year, and the industry is already preparing to double that, according to an executive at Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. [HKG:1060].
Despite hitting a new box office record, Chinese residents' desire to watch movies has waned. Online gaming and streaming have impacted the desire to go to the cinema, Li Jie, senior vice president at the film unit under Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA], said at the China Culture and Entertainment Industry Summit on Dec. 8. He believes that movie makers need to enhance the cinema experience, Economic Information Daily reported.
There are three main areas in which Chinese films need to improve, Li added: content, promotion and distribution, and cinemas themselves. Moviemakers need to industrialize film content similar to the way Hollywood does. Traditional marketing is also insufficient, and cinemas need to upgrade from offering more than just a single function. Solutions to these three problems could help the box office bring in another CNY50 billion, he said.
The number of cinemas and screens in China reached 8,928 and 43,000 this year, but statistics show that the annual average frequency with which moviegoers watch films and cinema attendance have declined. Chinese movie theaters fill just 13.3 percent of seats a year, compared with 45 percent in Japan and 30 percent in North America.
China's box office takings surpassed the milestone figure on Nov. 20, up 15 percent from the same period last year. Back in 2003, revenue was just CNY1 billion, an industry researcher said.