(Yicai Global) Feb. 11 -- Chinese film producers have released new movies with big expectations ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday while some of them can already be found on a Chinese online retail platform for a fraction of the price of a movie ticket.
Yicai Global found a seller of many latest box office hits on Alibaba Group Holding's Xianyu, specialized on second-hand goods, who claimed to have 1080p high definition items for CNY4 (60 US cents), which is one-tenth or less of a movie ticket in Chinese cinemas. The vendor offered to send a link where the films may be streamed or downloaded from.
Yicai Global checked one of the links for a two-hour long movie, and the quality was clear. Some gambling-related advertising interrupted the viewing every now and then.
Earlier, illegal distributors filmed in cinemas, but now the quality is up to HD quality, which means that professional teams may be behind the movement, an industry insider who has been working in film distribution for many years told Yicai Global.
Major film studios have smelled the fraud, as they proceeded yesterday by reporting to the Film Administration. Guo Fan and Gong Geer, two movie-makers behind The Wandering Earth, a science fiction film released on Chinese New Year on Feb. 5, posted on microblogging platform Sina Weibo yesterday, calling for people to report piracy.
In China, it is usual for movie distributors to hire a third-party team to hunt down illegal copies prior to the release. "Our staff members don't have any time celebrating the rising box office since we spend almost all effort in reporting and removing pirated copies," said producer Gong.
Cases involving serious infringement of intellectual property will be handed over to the public security department, the National Copyright Administration of China announced on its Weibo account yesterday. On Feb. 2, the agency issued the first list of major works that will enjoy copyright protection, which included The Wandering Earth.
The Wandering Earth's box office reached CNY2.1 billion (USD310 million) as of this morning, which has sent shares of two of the producers climbing. Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism [SHE: 000802] jumped the daily limit of 10 percent to CNY14.51 (USD2.15) this morning. State-owned China Film Group [SHA: 600977] rose 2.74 percent to CNY16.15 as of at 3.18 p.m.
Editor: Emmi Laine