Six Keywords for the Chinese Films Market in 2015

The yearly box-office revenues of films in China reach RMB 44 billion Yuan in 2015, which creates a new record in history, and the film market has begun a new development stage. When we are looking back at the extraordinary year 2015, there are some keywords deserving our careful review and memory in Chinese film industry.

The yearly box-office revenues of films in China reached RMB 44 billion Yuan in 2015, which created a new record in history, and the film market has begun a new development stage. According to the data released by the Film Bureau in the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of PRC, the total box-office revenues of films in China in 2015 reached RMB 44.069 billion Yuan, increasing by 48.7% in comparison with that in 2014. Among them, the box-office revenue of Chinese domestic films is RMB 27.136 billion Yuan, accounting for 61.58% of total box-office revenue, which maintains the leading role of Chinese domestic films in the film market of China by a wide margin

The most exciting and encouraging thing for Chinese filmmakers in this year is the continuous improvement of creation level for Chinese films and the continuous enrichment of film types, and besides, many films get great achievements in both box office and word of mouth. There are many outstanding films, such as CUG: King of Heroes, Monster Hunt, Go away Mr. Tumor, The Wolf Totem, The Dead End, Wolf Warrior, Saving Mr.Wu, Mojin-The Lost Legend, Mr. Six, and so on, and they all show the great vitality of Chinese native films. According to the satisfaction investigations for general film audiences carried out in the important schedules in 2015, film reviews were no longer just based on box office, and there were also more and more public praises for Chinese domestic films.

It was the first year when the yearly box-office revenues of films exceed RMB 40 billion Yuan in China. From the beginning of industrialization reform for Chinese films in 2002 to 2010, it took nine years for Chinese films industry to realize the target that box-office revenue reached more than ten billion yuan and then it took another three years to realize the leap to RMB 20 billion Yuan. From RMB 20 billion Yuan to 40 billion Yuan, it only took one year for Chinese film industry to realize the leap.

When we are looking back at the extraordinary year of 2015, there are some keywords deserving our careful review and memory in Chinese film industry.



Keyword No.1 : Multiple Types of Attempts

Based on reviewing the Chinese domestic films in 2015, from Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy released at the beginning of 2015 to The Wolf Totem released in the schedule of Chinese Spring Festival, from Wolf Warrior with good reviews on the Internet to Monster Hunt, CUG: King of Heroes, A Hero or Not, To The Fore and Go away Mr. Tumor which do wonders in the box-office revenue of Chinese domestic films in July, and from Lost in Hong Kong, Goodbye Mr. Loser, Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe and Saving Mr.Wu which raised a fire storm in the schedule of Chinese National Day to Mojin-The Lost Legend and Mr. Six released in the schedule of New Year… it can be found that there were good Chinese domestic films coming out nearly every month, and they not only included the films with small and medium-sized investment which gave full play to native advantages and showed different styles but also included some films which produced with industrial strength and enhance technical improvement. It was more gratifying that The Dead End, Mountains May Depart, The Coffin in the Mountain, River Road, Ladder to Paradise and other relevant films with humanistic care and artistic personality not only drew wide attention but also struggled for more space for growth.

Therefore, some reviews pointed out that the typed development of Chinese films has entered in a new stage, there are some iconic films for comedies, fantasy films, animations and other different types of films, which not only meets the need of different levels of audiences for watching films but also lays a more solid foundation for the comprehensive development of Chinese film industry.

Keyword No.2 : Chinese-style Blockbusters

In July 2015, Monster Hunt, a film for whole families’ viewing in the summer vacation, broke the record made by an imported blockbuster Fast & Furious 7 with a box office of more than RMB 2.4 billion Yuan, and became the first Chinese domestic film entering the Club of More Than 2 Billion Yuan, so it became the champion of box office among single films in the history of Chinese films. The novel topic selection, the elaborate special effects and the accurate audience orientation link Chinese traditional cultural elements to popular interests creatively, which becomes the key for the success of this film. Meanwhile, in terms of the film, the large investment in the production and the industrialized links for division of labor also draw the wide attention in the industry, and although it does not get rid of the traces of following the Hollywood model, the Chinese-style blockbuster finally gets rid of the previous image of bamboozling and becomes a high-quality product really created by the film industry.

After entering the schedule of New Year, The Chinese domestic film Mojin-The Lost Legend which triggers a great upsurge for watching the movie, continued to explore the future development of Chinese-style blockbusters. Audiences are greatly impressed about the shocking visual effects, the high-level film sets and the excellent post-production effects, and it also filled in the weakness of Chinese native films in genre films. Although still under the shadow of Hollywood, Chinese filmmakers are doing their best to catch up. With the obvious improvement of overall production level for Chinese domestic films, Chinese-style blockbusters are produced based on Chinese stories and Chinese sentiments, and it may not be very long time that the Chinese national film industry develops continuously and stands up to Hollywood films as an equal.


Keyword No.3 : A Great Upsurge of IP

The year 2014 was known as the year for the birth of IP films in the industry, and with the rapid development of Chinese film industry and film market, the great upsurge of IP (Intellectual Property) develops continuously and becomes one of the popular professional terms in the industry. Various film companies and giants in the cultural industry were crazy for hot IPs, and creating powerful IP also became an important direction for various picture companies, medias and cultural companies to build diversified platforms of business development.

Based on enumerating the hot Chinese domestic films in 2015, including One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes, Surprise, Go away Mr. Tumor, Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe, The Wolf Totem, Mojin-The Lost Legend, Running Man, You Are My Sunshine, Forever Young, The Left Ear, Goodbye Mr. Loser, and so on, it is roughly estimated that there were 28 IP films released in the year, obtaining a box-office revenue of nearly RMB 8 billion Yuan. After studying the source of those IP films, it can be found that there were 15 films created based on novels, accounting for a big proportion. In addition, cartoon, variety show, radio play, song, drama and even online hot post also become important sources of IP for film creation.

However, behind the great upsurge, there are some problems that the relevant personnel in the industry should think about. Could it make top-selling films as long as the film has a so-called hot IP? Does it reflect the exhaustion of sources for film creation behind the rapid development of IP films? Just like the previous consensus in the industry, targeting an IP is just the first step and it still needs some time to give full play to the maximum value of IP, which also needs continuous attempts. How to keep the content that fans like in cinematographic adaptation and consider the other elements of film art form to attract more common audiences to watch those films, becomes the key to the great success of IP films.

It can be predicted that IP films will continue developing in 2016. There will be more films adapted from the popular novels with great fan groups in cinemas. It deserves our expectation that whether the films created based on popular IPs can reach and exceed the level of original works in art quality and whether the great upsurge of IP can be maintained in the film industry.

Keyword No.4: New Force

The clustering rise of new creation talents is particularly prominent in 2015. The works created by the new generation of filmmakers have occupied the principle position in Chinese film market.

According to some reviews, the inter-generational and ethnic barriers among Chinese filmmakers are disappearing after the fourth generation of film language reform and the fifth generation of film aesthetics exploration. From a TV host He Jiong and some Korean-style idols Lu Han and Wu Yifan, to Jing Boran and Li Yifeng who come from talents shows and now become very famous and a director of literary films Chen Jianbin who used to be a famous actor…steady fresh blood comes into Chinese film industry, and there are also more and more opportunities for newcomers, which changes the situation that several famous directors and stars play a dominant role completely. Lots of cross-sectional talents with rich practice experience, good understanding about the demand on market segmentation and flexible Internet thinking come into the film industry, which makes the creation of Chinese native films show a new atmosphere of embracing everything that is useful and being tolerant to diversity. A large number of outstanding young professional talents of film also stand out in succession, and new directors, new screenwriters, new actors and actresses and new technical experts also gradually carry the burden of film creation and production, which brings a new force for Chinese film industry and calculates the most valuable talent resources and experience for the future development of Chinese film industry.
Newcomers appear in the field of creation continuously and new reforms are carried out in the field of technology, virtual reality technology brings 360-degree immersive view experience; Screen-X achieved the image projection to the walls on the left and right of theatre through 270-degree projection technology, which made audiences get the new experience of extension in three sides; and in order to solve the problem about the insufficient life and brightness of xenon lamps in 3D projectors, the laser era of projection equipment is coming.


Keyword N0.5: Town Youth

1.26 billion tickets were sold in Chinese film market in 2015, which was nearly close to the total number of Chinese people. The number of Chinese audiences is huge, which still goes up gradually, and they are the real unsung heroes for Chinese film industry to develop continuously. Nowadays, with the continuous upgrading of film industry and the gradual subsidence of Chinese cinema layout, more and more young people from second-tier cities or bellow become the main force for watching films in Chinese film market.

According to some relevant investigation data, the percentage of film audiences from first-tier cities decreases from 25% to 18% in the film market while the percentage of audiences from second-tier cities goes up from 75% to 82%, and among it, the percentage of the audiences from fifth-tiers cities reaches 17%, which is catching up the percentage of audience from first-tier cities gradually. In addition, the generation after 1990s becomes a main group of film audience, and among them, the number of audiences who are the generation born after 1995 is increasing rapidly, and a great number of people from the generation after 1990s choose to buy film tickets online, accounting for 57% of the total users who buy film tickets online.

With the rise of town youth among all Chinese film audiences, in order to make Chinese domestic films get close to people’s real life, Chinese film industry needs to find a diversified development path, so as to meet the different levels and different cultures of demand for film watching. But on the other hand, it is also necessary for the marketing link of film industry to enhance the guidance and cultivation for audiences and promote the overall quality and aesthetic standards of audiences.


Keyword No. 6: Internet plus

Internet plus is one of the keywords in the economic development of China in 2015, and besides, Internet is also widely used in the various links of film industrial chain.

With the help of Internet, various new commercial activities began to enter the film industry—online IPs became abundant sources of film ideas, BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) and other Internet giants participated in the creation and production of films positively, online sales of tickets and online seat selection became the mainstream in the market, online social platforms turned into the new channels for film marketing, and Internet became an important marketing channel for the derivatives of films, which also promoted the development of more post-cinema products, and the big data of Internet also provided important data for the development of film industry. Meanwhile, the film industry also provided a wider platform and new development opportunities for Internet economy.



(The article is an extract from the Xinhua News Agency, the original author is Shi Jingnan, and it is slightly abridged and modified in the publication based on the original text)

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