China overtakes US as biggest cinema box office for 2020

Louis Chilton
·1-min read
People wear protective masks as they watch a movie in 3D at a theatre in Beijing, China (Getty Images)
People wear protective masks as they watch a movie in 3D at a theatre in Beijing, China (Getty Images)

China has overtaken the US in yearly box office receipts for the first time in history.

The US cinema industry has been rocked by the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday (18 October), China reached a total of $1.988bn (£1.529bn) in box office takings for the year, surpassing the US total of $1.937bn (£1.490bn), according to data from Artisan Gateway.

With China’s economy already starting to recover from the pandemic-induced downtown, the gap is predicted to widen significantly by the year’s end.

Tens of thousands of cinemas in China are currently open with 75 per cent of usual seating capacity available.

What’s more, it’s not just Hollywood imports that have been getting Chinese audiences back into theatres.

Last month, Chinese war epic The Eight Hundred overtook Bad Boys for Life as the highest-grossing film of 2020 in the global box office.

Another Chinese film, My People, My Homeland, sits in third place, while animated fantasy film Jiang Ziya also makes the top 10.

While the recovery of the UK economy has been hampered by the emergence of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, China has seen a period of 4.9% growth in the third quarter of the year, running to the end of September.

In the UK, Cineworld and Picturehouse cinema chains recently announced they would be closing their doors temporarily as a result of the pandemic.

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