Which Hollywood movies are popular in China? (And just how big is the PRC’s middle class?)

chinaMiddleClassScreenshot from 2016-07-15 21-42-46
Dalrock has some musings on what makes a movie popular.


That post linked to the following shocker:

China, the second-largest film market in the world after the US, has been a huge help in the global box office of other summer releases this year, including “Warcraft” which has earned $220.8 million in China to date but in the US only $46.6 million. “Zootopia,” with $235.5 million, is the highest-earning Hollywood film to play there so far this year.

Essentially, any movie aiming for blockbusters status relies on success in China.

The decision by the China Film Co., the state-owned movie body that handles the importing and releases of foreign titles into the country, will likely open the floodgates for bootleg copies of “Ghostbusters” in that region of the world.

A Chinese executive told THR that the China Film Co. made its decision “because they think it’s not really that attractive to Chinese audiences. Most of the Chinese audience didn’t see the first and second movies, so they don’t think there’s much market for it here.”


That motivated me to ask whether Hollywood’s days are done.

Nowadays, for a film to hit blockbuster status, it must appeal to the Chinese middle class.

From Wacky-piddly, here is a list of Hollywood movies that sold tickets in China:

3 Furious 7 2.426 billion United States 2015
7 Zootopia 1.530 billion United States 2016
8 Warcraft 1.472 billion United States 2016
9 Avengers: Age of Ultron 1.464 billion United States 2015
11 Jurassic World 1.420 billion United States 2015
12 Avatar (“Dances With Smurfs”)


So the Chinese are still willing to pay for movies that feature butt-kickin’ babes, so long as there are enough explosions, and preferably some car chases and fist-fighting. They’re even willing to watch “Dances With Smurfs.”

But just how big is the Chinese middle class?

Probably more than 250 million people.


The following infographic isn’t very good, but it looks like China’s middle class is numerically larger than the USA’s Spurdoburger class.

chinaMiddleClassScreenshot from 2016-07-15 21-42-46

So you had better get ready for a lot of movies about fast cars, girls who are sex objects, and boys who do kung-fu fighting. And maybe there will be some talking-animal cartoons for the kids who are too young to watch Cowboy Bebop.


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