'Black Panther' debut rakes in 66 mln dollars as China’s film industry evolves
By Jane Kiyo
Two weeks ago Marvel studios “Black Panther” premiered in China –the last stop of its international tour. Based on a fictional African nation called Wakanda, the film is billed to be one of the biggest movies of 2018.
Three days into its premiere in China, "Black Panther" had already raked in 66.5 million dollars in ticket sales – helping the film reach the milestone of a billion dollars.
There were doubts that Chinese audiences could warm to the superhero movie who’s lead cast is entirely black.
But this wasn’t the case – while reviews have been mixed the fact that the numbers were impressive means Chinese audiences tastes are changing, thanks to the ongoing reforms in the film industry.
A Chinese poster for the film "Black Panther". /VCG Photo

A Chinese poster for the film "Black Panther". /VCG Photo

No more than 38 foreign films are allowed into China each year – not much for a country of nearly 1.4 billion people. But this has proven enough to offer variety for the movie loving Chinese.
We meet Sun Ying as we walk out of the theater where we watched "Black Panther". A movie buff Sun quickly tells me “I prefer to watch domestic films because I can relate with the content.”
Her friend Ding Qin though is drawn to foreign films. She said they have better visuals and effects, and are much more creative.
The film quota is meant to protect and promote domestic movies that still rule the market. In 2017 China’s movie box office revenue rose to 8.6 billion dollars, and in 2018 it is projected to hit 9.2 billion dollars.
A scene from the film "Black Panther". /VCG Photo

A scene from the film "Black Panther". /VCG Photo

Zhang Hua, the operation manager at Saga Luxury Cinemas, said, however, over the years there’s been stiff competition for the audience from the domestic and foreign films. 
China is the fastest growing movie market in the world- second only to the US. Experts say by 2020 china will have taken over the global market.
But even as China’s influence in the movie industry rises, more needs to be done. Out of 5,000 films released globally each year, China produces only 800, and for that to happen, the Chinese producers need to create more content that can resonate globally.