Despite the celebratory stormtrooper speech celebrating the reopening of Hong Kong and China by Bona Film Group COO Jiang Defu, it’s clear that China’s film industry is still reeling from its own version of prolonged COVID, with box office trailing at around half of 2018 levels. .
The Chinese box office was 60.7 billion yuan ($8.89 billion at current exchange rates) in 2018. 83 films were made for more than 100 million yuan. 16 films grossed more than 1 billion yuan. After the epidemic, in 2022, the box office in China was 29.9 billion yuan. [Just] 41 films have generated more than 100 million yuan. [And] 8 films made more than 1 billion yuan. “Now we are only at 50% of the level in 2018,” Jiang Ati said in a presentation on the first day of FilMart in Hong Kong.
According to Jiang, 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) is a significant number, as it represents the break-even level for moderate budget Chinese films in the 30 million yuan range.
China produces about 1,000 films a year. Those that do have a chance of getting a general theatrical release number of 300 to 400. What this means other than these 41 films, all the others are losing money.”
Bona is undergoing internal adjustments to deal with the post-pandemic film industry, including researching and working with a younger generation of Hong Kong and Maca writers and directors in their 30s and 40s, Jiang said.
“We’ve made several major film investments with directors like Andrew Lau, Dante Lam and Derek Yee. We need more middle-generation filmmakers. I just don’t see that many. Our markets are connected. We can’t just focus on our industry.”
Jiang also placed great emphasis on developing better creative methodologies and leveraging technology to drive business, but did not elaborate.
Jiang concluded by quoting newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who warned that government departments “should not only hit the brakes, but also hit the gas pedal” in terms of weathering crises. This is something Jiang believes is also true of the film industry.
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