China’s movie box office staged a strong comeback over last week’s Lunar New Year holidays as consumers bought up RMB6.76 billion ($1 billion) in tickets, according to film production company Alibaba Pictures.
Data gathered by Beacon, the platform’s film distribution and advertising branch, revealed an 11.89% jump year-over-year in ticket sales, which exceeds even pre-pandemic levels.
The holiday period from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27 came on the heels of softening pandemic control measures and increasing domestic travel.
Many people celebrated the Lunar New Year by watching a slew of new releases, including comedy thriller “Full River Red,” animated comedy “Boonie Bears: Guardian Code” and sci-fi blockbuster sequel “The Wandering Earth 2,” co-produced by Alibaba Pictures.
The galactic adventure, based on a series of books by Liu Cixin, follows 2019’s hit film “The Wandering Earth” and raked in RMB2.16 billion over the week.
Moviegoers saw 1.34 films on average over the week. Lower-tier cities accounted for more than half of box-office revenue in this time as many people returned to their hometowns for the first time in three years.
China’s box office rebound is a strong indicator of broader economic recovery. The Lunar New Year is the first major festival since China lifted its pandemic control measures.
Many domestic and foreign titles are set to hit the Chinese box office in the coming months, including Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.”