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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 17:55 GMT
Chinese movie takings 'to triple'
Hero is the most expensive Chinese film made yet
Box office takings in China's cinemas are set to triple over the next five years, research on the Asian film market has suggested.

China has 2,000 working screens, according to Screen International, but the annual box office total is expected to reach $380m (207m) by 2008.

The revival of Chinese-language films and the region's investment in digital cinema technology are among the reasons cited by researchers for the growth.

South Korea remains the fastest-growing cinema industry in the region.

The number of cinemas in South Korea has more than doubled over the last five years to reach 1,100 in 2003.

The report, from Dodona Research, covers 12 markets in the Asia Pacific region and forecasts that cinema-goers in these countries will spend around $7.5bn (4.1m) per year on cinema tickets by 2008.

India still dominates the area in terms of admissions but the low cost of tickets - averaging at around $0.66 (36p) each - means it brings in about the same revenue as Japan, where tickets are $10.84 (5.90) each.


Nearly three billion people visited Indian cinemas last year, with the nation boasting more than half the region's screens.

China celebrated its biggest-grossing film in January thanks to martial arts epic Hero.

The film took 200m yuan (15m) in its first month of release.

The movie stars Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actor Zhang Ziyi and Maggie Chueng and Tony Leung from In the Mood for Love.

Hero is the most expensive film made to date in China, costing 19.3m to produce.

Director Zhang Yimou is famous for films such as Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern.

Film ticket sales in North America fell for the first time since 1991 last year, despite several strong opening weekends and increased ticket prices.

According to box office auditors Exhibitor Relations, ticket sales in 2003 fell 0.5% to $9.27bn (5.17bn).

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