BEIJING Nov 11 China's films are taking a hit
from a trade deal that allows for more U.S. movie imports, the
country's broadcast regulator said on Sunday, with their share
of the box office take sliding even as the industry's total
revenues outpace those of last year.
The movie pact, which exempted 14 films from China's annual
quota of 20 foreign films per year, was hammered out in February
during a trip to the United States by Vice President Xi Jinping,
the man expected to take the ruling Communist Party's top spot
after a congress held this week in Beijing.
After signing the deal, the number of American films in
China and their proportion of revenues have increased by a
"large margin", Vice Minister of the State Administration of
Radio, Film and Television Tian Jin said.
"The past dominance of domestic films in the Chinese market
has been shaken," Tian told a press briefing on the sidelines of
the congress held once every five years.
China's 2012 box office revenues reached 13.27 billion yuan
($2.12 billion) at the end of October, Tian said, already
outpacing revenues from all of 2011. But the share of revenues
for domestically produced films was only 41.4 percent,
constituting "a huge drop".
Tian said the U.S. film industry is reaping massive profits
while domestic producers are under greater pressure, mainly
because Chinese movies cannot compete with the Hollywood
"The competitiveness of Chinese-made films must be raised,"
Chinese film industry experts have said that Hollywood's
looming shadow means Chinese producers need to focus on quality
if they are going to elevate their appeal to a Chinese audience.
February's deal stemmed from a victory in a 2009 U.S. World
Trade Organization case that challenged Beijing's restrictions
on import and distribution of copyright-protected materials.
The U.S. movie industry has long complained about China's
tight restrictions on foreign films, which they say helps fuel
demand for pirated DVDs that are widely available in China.
It also argued that it was being boxed out of a booming
market, as the fast-growing Chinese middle class spends more
money in theatres.
The Chinese film market is seen as one of the largest
potential markets for Hollywood, but it has also been tightly
controlled by the state-owned China Film Group.
Chinese films frequently compete for international awards,
but winners overseas are often not those supported by China's
government, which tend to fan nationalist and patriotic