That Ballooning Chinese Box Office
No. 1 in 2008, 2012 and this year. With bullets.
Via Box Office Mojo, here's a list of the biggest box-office hits in China since 2007, with numbers in $US:
|2008||Red Cliff: Part I||$46.69|
|2011||Transformers: Dark of the Moon||$165.10|
|2012||Lost in Thailand||$197.41|
|2013||Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons||$196.74|
|2014||Transformers: Age of Extinction||$320.00|
|2016||The Mermaid *||$481.91 *|
*Still in release
See that last number? “The Mermaid” was only released in February and yet, transposed to the U.S. market, it would already be the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time. And it'll go higher. How high? Not sure. $600 mil, most likely. Maybe higher. So in 10 years, as measured by its top box-office hit, the Chinese box office has ballooned by more than 16 times.
Here's a quick, related story. I was living in Taiwan in 1990 when “Total Recall,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was released, and some friends and I went to see it in Taipei's movie district. We went to, I believe, the 2 a.m. show on a Friday night, and the place was packed. Sold out. And when we were leaving? Outside the theater? We saw this long line of people waiting to get into the 4 a.m. show.
Overall, China's box office was about half the U.S.'s in 2014 (10.4 billion vs. 4.8 billion) but I wouldn't be surprised to see China eclipse the U.S. here someday. And maybe sooner than we thought.