Ticket sales for imported films in China are up 34 percent this year, to roughly $2.3 billion, according to the Beijing research firm EntGroup. Look at Paramount's "Transformers: The Last Knight." That sequel managed only $45 million in its opening weekend in North America, but it took in $120 million in China.
On closer look, however, the rosy picture doesn't quite hold up, underscoring why Hollywood has recently been pushing so hard for film-related concessions from the Chinese government.
New data from comScore, a Virginia-based analytics firm, indicates that Hollywood is having a tough time in China. From Jan. 1 to June 30, Chinese cinemas played 24 movies from Hollywood, generating $1.76 billion in ticket sales. In the same period a year earlier, the country let in 22 Hollywood movies, which collected about $1.73 billion.
That is a 1.7 percent increase — a far shot from 35 percent, the figure for all imported movies. Films from countries other than the United States made up the difference. One was "Dangal," a Bollywood drama (partly financed by an Indian subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company) that collected a runaway $191 million in China in May.