January 1, 2019 / 2:56 AM / a year ago

China 2018 movie box office revenue growth slows

FILE PHOTO: People print movie tickets from a machine at a cinema in Tianjin, China, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s movie box office revenue rose 9 percent in 2018 to 60.98 billion yuan ($8.87 billion), state media reported, a slower pace than the 13.45 percent clocked for the previous year.

Domestic films recorded ticket sales of 37.9 billion yuan in 2018, accounting for 62 percent of the total box office, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Monday, citing data from the State Film Administration.

Domestic films in 2017 accounted for 54 percent of total box office.

China is the second-largest movie market globally after the United States, though it already has more total movie screens after years of rapid expansion in theater networks.

The number of movie screens reached 60,079 across the country, an increase of 9,303 from 2017, Xinhua said. That compares to just over 40,000 screens in the United States, according to data from U.S.-based National Association of Theatre Owners.

China, which is on track to eventually overtake the North America film market, has become an increasingly important region for global producers looking to pump up their box office returns, despite a quota on imported films and strict censorship.

China has been seeking to promote home-grown productions to rival imported Hollywood films. But several big-budget Chinese films have flopped while more modest productions have done well, highlighting the challenges China faces.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard: Editing by Neil Fullick.

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