China's 2021 year-end box office hits $7.4 billion, highest in world
Chinese audiences watch movie in a cinema. /CFP

Chinese audiences watch movie in a cinema. /CFP

China's year-end box office hit 47.258 billion yuan ($7.4 billion) in 2021, of which 84.49 percent was from domestic films, the China Film Administration revealed on Saturday.. 

The number of city cinema audiences reached 1.167 billion, and 6,667 new screens were added in the year, bringing the total number of screens on the Chinese mainland to 82,248. China's film industry has recovered rapidly since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the country's annual box office and total number of screens continued to lead the world. 

A total of 740 films were produced in the past year. Earning over 5.77 billion yuan since September 30, patriotic Chinese blockbuster "The Battle at Lake Changjin" was undoubtedly the biggest winner. It is the highest-grossing title of all time at China's box office, as well as one of the top earners in 2021 globally. 

A slew of quality patriotic films secured big wins over the past year, becoming what experts have labeled "new mainstream" films. They not only convey the prevalent values of Chinese society, like many previous movies, but also achieve impressive box office results. 

Produced at a cost of 1.4 billion yuan, or more than $200 million, "The Battle at Lake Changjin" saw the involvement of nearly all of China's post-production companies, and all aspects of the film's post-production were completed in China, according to the film's producer Yu Dong. 

Yin Hong, vice chairman of the China Film Association and a professor at Tsinghua University, hailed the film's box office achievements as a shot in the arm to the movie industry not only in China but also the whole world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also among last year's popular patriotic titles were anthology "My Country, My Parents," which adopted the storytelling technique of collective creation similar to "My People, My Country" and "My People, My Homeland"; "Chinese Doctors," a cinematic portrayal of China's fight against COVID-19; and "1921," a production intended to provide a panoramic view of the founding of the Communist Party of China 100 years ago. 

For future films with ambitions to join the "new mainstream," Yin believes there will be mounting pressure to innovate, as they need to adapt to the changing market landscape. 

(With input from Xinhua News Agency)

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