Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chinese film producers face financial woes

Chinese film producers are struggling to make ends meet even though the country's movie industry earns good profits, say officials.

Hollywood blockbuster "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" collected 400 million yuan ($58.4 million) in China after the movie was released worldwide June 24, breaking the record set by "Titanic" 10 years ago in the country.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", which hit the Chinese market Friday, is also expected to do good business in China.

The country's film business is profitable as Chinese movies earn good profits.

For instance, "If You Are The One", a comedy made by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, earned 325 million yuan this year. "Silver Medalist", a black comedy by young director Ning Hao, grossed 100 million yuan this spring, says Han Sanping, chairman of China Film Group Corporation.

Some industry critics, however, argue that domestic film producers are still struggling to make their ends meet.

The box office returns are usually divided into three parts: 50 percent goes to the cinema hall owners, 10 percent to the distributors and 40 percent to producers. A film with an investment of 80 million yuan must earn at least 200 million yuan so that its producers could make their ends meet, Han said recently in an interview with the Shanghai-based Wen Hui Daily.

China produced 406 films in 2008, according to a report produced by the Chinese Film Association in June. The total box office returns in China last year stood at 4.3 billion yuan and 60 percent or 2.58 billion came from the domestic movies, he added.

"In a mature film industry, the box office is not the only source of revenue," said Jiang Defu, director of the marketing department under the China Film Group Corporation.

In Hollywood, 30 percent of the revenues come from the box office, while the remaining 70 percent come from other sources, including advertisement, he said.

"We still need to learn from their experience. Chinese film producers should not only attract audience into cinema but also explore the market out of the cinema (theatres)," he said.

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