China has become the go-to place for movies looking to add bountiful to their kitty. Take the simple example of Secret Superstar. The film earned Rs 63.40 crore in India but made a killing sum of Rs 800 crore in China. Can you see the difference here? So is it the case of India neglecting its own content while China is lapping it up? Not really. Aamir Khan explained why China has become this blockbuster market for Indian content. He mentions that his popularity is accidental, but he knows exactly why Dangal and Secret Superstar earned truckloads of money there. There has been a rise of moviegoers in China which is working in Bollywood and Hollywood’s favor. Did you know Transformers: Age of Extinction underperformed everywhere, but became the highest grossing non-Chinese film that year? So let us tell how China managed to become the go-to market for the world’s two biggest movie making industries.
Plenty of theatres
India has 5000 screens and China has 45000 screens. You can see the disparity right there. Aamir had said, “The reason why the films did such business in China is the sheer number of screens. In India, we have around 5,000 theatres, while in China there are 45,000.”
It’s not just 5000 screens which is a woe here. A trade expert had revealed to us earlier that the theatres we have don’t fill up to its capacity. Often you will hear experts saying only 2 percent of India’s population watch movies at the theatres. Talking about Bajrangi Bhaijaan, PV Sunil, director and CEO of Carnival Cinemas had revealed to IANS, “It’s startling to know only two percent of India’s population has watched the film, which has collected over Rs 300 crore from Indian theatres. Even if we can increase the footfalls to five percent, it will hugely benefit the overall revenue of Indian cinema.” But in China, even after having so many screens, there is a demand for more. That means increased sales. The country will never lose its sheen in terms of box office outcome.
Too much, too many
Aamir also pointed out, “It’s a fact that since India and China have the maximum number of people, if you’re popular in these two countries, you already have close to three billion people liking you, which is half the world’s population. America has around 650 million people, and all of Europe put together has around 750 million people. There’s no comparison when it comes to India and China. On numbers, the West can’t beat us.” With that many people out to watch a film in China, it is reaching more than half of the population in the world.
Human interest stories
China and India have shared icy cold vibes with border disputes. Who would have thought two countries of such nature have so much in common? Dangal’s super success proves that their social concerns are not different from ours. Zhong Bingshu, Dean of Capital University of Physical Education and Sports was quoted in Beijing Evening News, “There are so many Chinese Olympic champions such as Wang Junxia who, like Geeta, came from lower classes. The film shows how a common person becomes a champion and how that feels. Audiences want to know how these people achieved their dreams, but our Chinese sports films rarely ever do that.” Family movies always work in China and thus Dangal, Secret Superstar worked brilliantly.
China has come down hard on piracy recently which has made movies almost unavailable online. That has increased footfalls at the theatres. India is still struggling to put an end to piracy. Films reach various illegal websites the moment they hit the theatres. That keeps many people from venturing into the theatre and pay for a film when they can watch it for free. PTI had reported, “Nearly 3,9oo websites have been shut down for infringement in a crackdown by China’s copyright watchdog in the past five years. The crackdown has been carried out for 13 consecutive years by the administration in cooperation with other departments, targeting online literature, music, videos, games, animation, and software, as well as mobile apps, cloud storage, and e-commerce platforms. China’s copyright watchdog said that 3,908 websites have been shut down in a crackdown on copyright infringement in the past five years.”