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China 3D Expo 2012 Aims to Build Co-operation in the 3D Industry

2012-11-28 15:32:19        Chinese Films

File photo of the 2012 Beijing International Cultural Creative Industry Exposition.

Souce: 3D Roundabout

3D as the core of an exploding film market, 40% 3D in H1, 2012 42% p.a. box office growth rate, 65% foreign films in H1, 2012

Last year (2011) was the first year that annual box office in China crossed US$2.0 billion (RMB13 billion). 3D films had a 40% share of it (US$ 790m, RMB 5bn).

First half of 2012 growth rate was 42% compared to 2011, after an already astonishing 29% growth in 2011 over 2010. If the Chinese box office maintains its 42% growth rate through the whole year, 2012 box office could reach $2.9 billion and China would be the second largest film market after the US, although behind India in terms of number of productions.

Since the further opening of the 3D film market to foreign productions, foreign films increased their box office share from 49% in 2011 to 65% in H1, 2012.

Industry analysts attribute box office growth to the surge in cinema screens as well as the accompanying growth in audience numbers among China's youth. Additionally, a growing middle class, along with a hike in ticket prices, especially for 3D movies, has contributed. 3D movies, and especially the recently released "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate", a 3D remake of 1967 Kungfu Classic, reaped $ 100m in box office revenue on an initial production investment of $35m ($3.5m for visual effects and $ 1.8m for post-production services), and created a new IMAX revenue record of 12 million US$ in 63 IMAX cinemas.

After Titanic 3D made it's total 2D to 3D conversion costs of US$ 18m back in the first weekend in China alone ($20m), Painted Skin 2 became the best selling ever domestic film, shot in 2D, converted to 3D and released to cinemas in 3D only. It reached a box office in excess of $100m since its release end of July.

Titanic 3D took more than $147m in box-office in China, while Transformers III took $170m and Mission: Impossible IV took over $ 100m.

3D screens have an annual growth rate of 212% on average (59% in 2008; 438% in 2009; 189% in 2010; 165% in 2011), reaching 8.000 plus 3D screens this year. From only 9 in 2007, IMAX screen are 92 and contracts have been signed for a total of 229.

But it's not only the cinema market which is going through the roof in terms of 3D and internationalization; all other markets report staggering figures as well.

Over 660 licensed Internet Video Service Suppliers, 350m Online Video Users, 100m Mobile Video Users until 30 June, 2012

China has now licensed 617 Internet audio and video service suppliers, 7 IPTV operators, 21 mobile TV operators and 15 radio and TV stations to launch Internet stations. 5 companies primarily running Internet audio and video businesses have listed on stock exchanges.

Chinese online video users have reached 350 million by the end of July, according to the 30th China Internet Development Statistics Report released on July 19. 25 million of these users were new in the first half year. Online video usage rate has risen to 65.1%. Mobile video users have also surpassed 100 million, accounting for 27.7% of all Chinese mobile Internet users.

3D has reached TV, online and mobile already and it's only a matter of time when the 40% box office share for 3D in cinemas will translate into a large share of 3D in all other film distribution channels as well.

The production infrastructure to satisfy the growing demand for content The newly privatized Chinese film and TV production business counts for 1,700 production companies, 200 post-production and visual effects companies, on top of the 700 broadcasters with over 3,000 channels most of which have their own production arm.

15,000 TV episodes were produced in 2011, close to 2,000 of those by CCTV, the central government channel.

5,094 hours of documentaries were produced in 2010, thereof 3,027 hours by CCTV who launched their dedicated CCTV9 documentary channel in 2010, and 2,076 hours by the provincial level broadcasters (Shanghai Media Group 599 hours, Chongqing TV 199 hours and Yunnan TV 192 hours)

With 558 theatrical film productions China has reached the output of the Hollywood film business, but this figure is indicative for the challenge the Chinese film business is coping with:

Of these 558 theatrical film productions only a fraction made it to the cinemas, and they only count for 35% of total box office, whilst foreign films, which are limited to 34 per year and almost exclusively from the US, make 65% of box office currently. Only Painted Skin 2 made it into the top ten in H1 2012, all the other big hits were of US origin, and even titles which flopped in the US made it into the charts in China (John Carter #7 with box office of 42m and Wrath of the Titans as #10 with $25m).

A similar situation is seen in the online video world: US TV episodes are topping the charts and domestic productions are finding their home mainly in the government owned broadcast system.

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