Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China's Booming Film Industry Can Already Rival US Market

China Soon to Overtake America in the Film Industry

(Photo : Getty Images/ David Livingston) China's robust film industry leaves some film makers to believe that it would soon become no. 1 in the movie sector

China's surging box office was brought up during the first Annual Chinese Film Festival Merchandising Summit on Monday, highlighting the 50 percent increase in first quarter revenues. It is also estimated to compete with North America as the world's largest theatrical domain next year.

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Beijing's Deputy Mayor Li Shixiang said that 80 percent of China's film-related revenue is taken from box office, whereas in North America, only 30 percent is derived from ticket sales.

"The rest is made up of derivative products. Our hope is that not only the Chinese audience will know Iron Man and the Transformers, but families around the world will own figurines of the Monkey King and other Chinese characters," Li said.

The consensus of the festival centered on initiating efforts to boost its merchandising business. In the previous year, the China Film Group formed a research institute for movie merchandising that will cooperate with the Beijing Film Institute to add a movie merchandising major to its film studies prospectus.

Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO Jerry Ye agree that developing the merchandise sector is indeed an important step to achieve the climax of China's box office. 

"Every country's toys are manufactured in China, so why can't we produce toys for our own films?" Ye said.

"The development of the IP industry must first have an environment of copyright protection to defend our IP from knock-offs," he explained. "Otherwise, these products will only be another form of promotion for the films, and not a very good form."

Once copyright protection is in place, Chinese studios will still require more time to develop strong franchises to build product lines around, Ye added.

"We need to create our own super heroes. Your film first has to become very successful to be well-suited for merchandised products."

Top film makers also commended China for its vast improvement in the film industry. One of which is James Schamus who blissfully declared "China is becoming the new Hollywood" on the first day of the Beijing International Film Festival. Schamus said that China has begun to clout its domestic box office to create the physique that is required in the Hollywood brand.

"China is leveraging every aspect of the cinematic sphere, and that leverage is centered on the rise of the theatrical box office," he said.

"The key difference between doing a co-production with China and doing one with Italy or any other country is that the co-production here will open up the theatrical marketplace in a more lucrative way," Schamus added.

In a separate interview with China Real Time, Joe Russo, Director of Marvel's  "Captain America" said that several Hollywood producers are coming to China for both economic and artistic reasons.

"The film market in the U.S. is becoming more and more about branded content, the safe play. There's no room in Hollywood unless you plan a superhero film or Star Wars," Russo said.

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