Homegrown monsters and magic pancakes boosted China’s box office to a new record

Entertain me.
Entertain me.
Image: Reuters/Stringer
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China has well and truly adopted the concept of the summer blockbuster movie. This past weekend, two domestic movies, Pancake Man and Monster Hunt, managed to smash a series of box office records—$69 million for Pancake Man over its three-day opening and $81 million over two days for Monster Hunt.

The two movies helped draw almost 12 million people to theaters over the weekend in China, pushing total box office receipts to $185 million for the two days and $282 million for all of last week, new records in China. Pancake Man tells the story of a street vendor who sells pancakes with super powers, Monster Hunt is a 3D fantasy adventure epic.

Neither Pancake Man nor Monster Hunt‘s impressive openings came close to the record $208.8 million earned in the US during Jurassic World‘s first two days. But the two films performance, and that of other recent Chinese movie titles, suggest China’s homegrown movie industry is gaining power and draw quickly.

Chinese studios are getting better at drawing in an audience, in a market predicted to rapidly beat the US in size:

Given the lower price of a movie ticket in China (they generally cost about $5 to $8), it will take a while before the Chinese movie market outperforms the US market in dollar terms:

And there is much room to grow. Theater companies in China still have plenty of room to build more screens—there’s just 1.8 per 100,000 people in China:

It may be a long time before Chinese citizens go to the movies as regularly as their US counterparts:

For anyone hoping to invest in a Chinese movie studio, it is tough to see which one might emerge as a clear market leader. That’s because the top 15 movie studios by market share in China managed to capture, collectively,  just 29.3% of the Chinese language movie market in 2014: