China Lifts Asia-Pacific to 64% Box Office Gain in 2021, Says Analyst

·2-min read

Theatrical box office in four of the biggest territories in Asia-Pacific grew by nearly 64% in the first months of 2021, to hit $8.22 billion, said S&P Global Market Intelligence. The gain was achieved despite the ongoing negative impact of coronavirus on cinema operations and on film release schedules.

S&P Global Market Intelligence, which is connected to the financial analysis firm S&P, based its analysis on raw figures from OpusData. It tracked performance in China, Japan, South Korea and Australia, and used figures only for the first 11 months – meaning that it omitted the powerhouse debut of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in two of those four countries in December. (“Spider-Man” releases in Japan on Friday, but it remains without a confirmed date in mainland China and may never be allowed into Chinese theaters.)

More from Variety

The headline figure also masks contrasting performances between China and the other markets.

For China, the S&P/Optus data shows box office between January and November 2021 reaching $6.44 billion, more than doubling the figure achieved in the first COVID year, 2020.

The S&P/Optus data shows Japanese box office shrinking by 26% to just $698 million, Korean box office increasing by 11% to $438 million and Australia’s rebounding 59% to $640 million.

(Full year figures from the Korean Film Council published earlier this week showed a 14% gain. Data from Japan’s Eiren and Australia’s Motion Picture Distributors’ Association are normally published at the end of January.)

In pre-COVID 2019 China, Japan and South Korea were respectively the world’s second, third and fourth largest cinema box office markets, behind only North America.

The S&P/Opus data show that the number of film releases remained weak outside China, which is increasingly operating on a separate economic, political cycle and film industry from the West.

Compared with 2020, the number of film releases in China leaped by 74%. In Korea, the number of new titles in the market increased by 11% over 2020, while in Australia they dropped by 2% and in Japan they crashed by 35%.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting