China box office up 51% but ticket fraud casts shadow
CHINA'S box-office takings grew 51 per cent in the first quarter of this year, Chinese state radio said yesterday, although a ticketing scandal has thrown doubt on the real size of the country's booming movie market.
Total sales of tickets were 14.5 billion yuan (S$3 billion) in the first three months of the year, said China National Radio.
Despite government censorship and a yearly limit of 34 foreign films, Hollywood is increasingly reliant on China's box office as United States market growth has stalled. In February, Chinese sales topped the US' for the first time.
But a ticketing fraud has called into question the validity of sales data. More than 100 Chinese investors descended on the offices of a financier of martial-arts movie Ip Man 3 last week, demanding their money back after the film's distributor admitted to buying 56 million yuan in tickets to bump up sales.
Chinese movies made up almost three-quarters of the country's box office in the first quarter, China National Radio reported.