January 19, 2007

Imported US Titles into China for 2007

[Beijing, China, January 11, 2007]

'Miami Vice' and 'World Trade Center' are finishing up their run in China’s theaters drawing a close to imported US titles in China's film market for 2006. From 'King Kong' to 'Miami Vice', 20 imported foreign films generated more than $102.4 million at the Chinese box office. Recently, a list of films recommended by 7 major Hollywood film studios to be considered for new imports to China market was turned in to the China Film Group, China’s leading film distribution company based in Beijing.

Many highly anticipated hit films were included such as 'Spider-Man 3', 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix', 'Transformers', and 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End'. The majority of imported films to be released in Chinese theaters in 2007 will come from this list, upon review by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, China’s main film bureau and censoring engine.

In 2006, 'The Da Vinci Code' with its concurrent global opening topped the mainland box office among all imported foreign films with $19.19 million before it was yanked by the government before it finished its run in China. 'Mission: Impossible III' was originally intended to be released simultaneously around the world as well, but was released in Chinese theaters two months and a half later than in the US. The movie was still able to climb among the top 3 titles in China for 2006 taking in about $10.4 million total.

Many industry analysts believe that concurrent global openings of imported films could be a promising endorsement to positive box office results in China. In 2007, the most probable imported film that would simultaneously open worldwide would be 'Spider-Man 3'. The previous two titles of the 'Spider-Man' series accumulated more than $12.8 million at the mainland box office.

Since the first imported action film in China was 'Fugitive' in 1994, action films have traditionally been the most selected among all imported foreign films in China for the past few decades. In 2006, 8 out of 20 imported titles were action films, where 3 made it to the top 10 box office for 2006. This trend is predicted to carry over into 2007 as well, as it is clearly shown among all the recommendations submitted to China Film Group for importing are in the action category.

On the list are 6 animated films to be considered for 2007 release including 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'Meet the Robinsons', 'Ratatouille', 'Shrek 3', 'Surf's Up', and 'The Simpsons Movie'. In 2006, there were 5 animation titles recommended and all were imported and released. Because of terrific box office results of many Hollywood animated films in 2006 like 'Ice Age 2: the Meltdown' and 'Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties', industry analysts believe it is highly possible that all of the 6 new recommendations will be presented to Chinese audiences this summer.

In the first quarter of 2007, there will be 9 imported foreign films dropping in Chinese theatres: 'Arthur and the Invisibles', 'The Guardian', and 'Casino Royale' in January; 'The Restless', '16 Blocks', and 'Night at the Museum' in Feburary; 'Deja vu”, 'The Devil Wears Prada', and 'Click' in March. 'Casino Royale' would be the very first of the many “007” series titles to make it to the big screens in China since it was first introduced 45 years ago. With scheduled opening on January 30th, it is anticipated to exceed 'King Kong' box office total of $12.8 million.

Source: Entertainment Asia Network

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