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People wait for movie screening at an IMAX theatre inside the Wanda Plaza in Xinxiang

People wait for movie screening at an IMAX theatre inside the Wanda Plaza in Xinxiang, Henan province, China March 23, 2018. Picture taken March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stella Qiu/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

BEIJING, Aug 18 (Reuters) – The summer box office in China has reached a new historical high, raking in 17.8 billion yuan ($2.44 billion) as of Friday morning for the 2023 summer movie season, with domestic films performing far better than Hollywood hits such as “Barbie”.

So far, four films have surpassed the 2 billion yuan benchmark at the box office, another record for the summer film season, including suspense thriller “Lost in the Stars” and crime drama “No More Bets”.

It is a highlight for consumption in a year that has witnessed a sluggish recovery in spending by Chinese consumers after the country abandoned its stringent COVID-19 policies at the end of 2022.

According to the China Film Administration, this year’s summer film revenue, which covers June to August, has surpassed the previous record of 17.78 billion yuan achieved in 2019.

Despite sports not being a usual hit with Chinese film audiences, “One and Only” – a street dance film about a young man’s dream – has broken the record for the highest-grossing domestic sports film in China, earning over 850 million yuan by Friday, according to Alibaba-backed (9988.HK) movie industry data provider Dengta.

Hollywood films did not fare as well.

Margot Robbie-starrer “Barbie”, which has performed well in global markets, brought in just 246 million yuan after almost a month on screen. Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible–Dead Reckoning Part One” made about 350 million yuan in more than a month of screening.

As of Friday morning, official data revealed that a total of 435 million tickets were sold since June.

($1 = 7.2869 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Sophie Yu, Casey Hall; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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