China Retains Global Box Office Crown With $7.3B in 2021, Down 26 Percent From 2019

China finished 2021 as the world’s largest theatrical film market for the second year in a row.

According to data from regional box office tracker Artisan Gateway, total movie ticket revenue in the country was $7.3 billion, more than doubling last year’s total and down just 26 percent from a pre-pandemic high of $9.2 billion (RMB 64.3 billion) in 2019.

Meanwhile, ticket sales at the domestic North American box office are predicted to have stayed over 60% behind 2019 at $4.5 billion.

The sector benefited from increasing ticket prices during the year despite the fact that overall movie theater admissions were down 29.4 percent from their 2019 record of 1.7 billion, with the average ticket rising to RMB 40.5 ($6.37) in 2021, up 8.7 percent from the 2019 average of RMB 37.1.

New movie theaters were also developed at a quick pace. The country added over 6,700 additional screens, bringing the total to 82,248, with the majority of new construction taking place in rural areas where Chinese-language films have the greatest impact.


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