China’s year-to-date box office came within a whisker of $2 billion on Sunday, with the latest weekend adding $46.4 million to the running total.
While the latest theatrical weekend total represented a 32% decline compared with the previous session, and lacked a notable new release, the incremental addition has China poised to claim the world’s biggest box office this year.
The 2020 China aggregate stands at $1.99 billion, according to consultancy Artisan Gateway, compared with $1.94 billion for the North American market. While these figures would see China overtake North America, Comscore has an aggregate of $2.1 billion for North America, which puts the gross still slightly behind.
The year-to-date total is 75.5% adrift of where the Chinese box office was last year, but after prolonged pain, continued recovery looks to be on the cards. China Monday reported an acceleration of its third quarter GDP recovery, and cinemas are now on a similar track.
The coronavirus outbreak kept mainland Chinese movie theaters closed for nearly six months. But most have now reopened. And government-mandated capacity restrictions were eased at the end of September allowing 75% of seats to be sold.