China’s cinemas are expecting to see a 20 per cent year-on-year rise in takings thanks to a series of blockbusters and a new nationwide ticketing fee.

The country’s combined box office income during 2017 is set to total $8.3bn (£6.3bn/€7.0bn) according to figures released at the 19th Party Congress by Zhang Hongsen, the Minister in charge of the media and culture.

The growth comes after a slow 2016, when takings increased by just 3.7 per cent. China saw a huge surge in 2015 when box office revenues grew by almost 50 per cent.

The growth this year has been spurred on by the massive takings of Wolf Warrior 2, The Fate Of The Furious and Never Say Die. In 2017 so far, 19 films have already passed $100m in takings.

Another contributing factor is the seven-per-cent ticketing fee that was introduced in 2017 and is added to all purchases. Overall, if the Culture Ministry’s figures stand, the increase in local currency at this year’s turnstiles would be 20.3 per cent with 26.3 per cent in dollar terms.

Last month, it was announced that China’s two biggest online movie ticketing operators are to merge, creating a single entity that controls 43 per cent of the market.

It has been announced that Maoyan, majority-owned by Chinese television and film company Enlight Media, is to join with Beijing Weiying Technology, which is backed by Tencent.

Image: Celina Horan