China's New Year box office breaks $1.2B

Tens of millions of Chinese people grounded by health restrictions have been heading to the cinema instead.

China's Lunar New Year holiday brought in a record $1.2 billion in ticket sales, making a tenth of last year's global box office sales in just six days.

The Spring holiday is usually the world's largest annual domestic migration, but this year people were encouraged to forego visiting their families and stay local.

Transport ministry data showed trips fell 70 percent nationwide.

It meant that more than 160 million people attended nearly three million film screenings.

Cinema-goer Ms Ding said people were driven to go out of boredom:

"This year, the government has promoted a stay at home message to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, and discouraged travelling or travelling outside Beijing. Like my company, which has strict rules, (by asking employees to follow what the government said), so we chose to stay at home. But we are bored and tired from children and old people having to spend days together. We are all tired and bored"

The top draw was "Chinatown Detective 3," an action comedy set in Japan's capital Tokyo, which grossed $550 million.

While, "Hi Mom," a time-travel comedy about parenthood came in second, raking in about $422 million.

And "A Writer's Odyssey" came in third, bringing in about $83 million.

China's booming box office returns offer hope for the global film industry, which has seen theatres large and small ruined by the global health crisis.