: China’s economy is suffering, and consumers won’t open their wallets — except to see movies

by | Aug 23, 2023 | Stock Market

China’s latest box-office numbers may be an indication of what consumers — who have snapped shut their wallets during a new era of weaker Chinese economic growth — are willing to spend on. Summer box-office receipts across the country have hit an all-time seasonal high of 17.8 billion yuan ($2.4 billion), according to the China Film Administration — with a week to go in the three-month period spanning from June 1 to Aug. 31.

Before the coronavirus pandemic began in the country, China’s film industry was on a steady upward course, finally outpacing the U.S. in 2019 as the world’s largest film market by revenue. It was a seismic moment for Hollywood, which had dominated global sales for decades. But China lost its fledgling crown in 2022, when the country went into draconian lockdowns, quashing even tiny virus outbreaks with citywide stay-at-home orders and requiring tedious health certificates to enter public places. Cinemas were closed or capacity-limited. But if this summer’s ticket sales are any indicator, the country may be well on its way to overtaking the U.S. again. What makes all this surprising to both film and financial observers is that China is experiencing an unexpe …

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