Asia, Box Office, Hong Kong, International, Movies, THR Online

Why Hong Kong’s Box Office Fell for the Second Year in a Row

Movie tastes in the special administrative region differ significantly from mainland China.

Box-office revenue in Hong Kong in 2017 shrunk for the second year running.

The annual gross for 2017 totaled $237 million, down 4.8 percent from $250 million in 2016, which had recorded the first decline in 10 years.

The decline came amid a lower number of theatrical releases and lower revenue from the top movies in the special administrative region of China.

The number of films released in Hong Kong in 2017 decreased by 5.2 percent from 349 in 2016 to 331, according to Hong Kong Box Office Ltd., a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA) and the Hong Kong Theatres Association.

The number of local Hong Kong movies also suffered a substantial drop of 14.5 percent, from 62 to 53, which amounted to 16 percent of the total number of films released. Hollywood and imports continued to dominate, with the former taking up the entire top 10 of the highest-grossing films in 2017.

The accolade of the top-grossing film of the year in the territory went to Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, which brought in $8.6 million in Hong Kong, a far cry from the $14.5 million Captain America: Civil War had made as the biggest film of 2016.

The lack of mega blockbusters that break the HK$100 million ($12.8 million) mark was one of the factors causing the diminished overall revenue. For example, despite high expectations, the second- and third-ranked films in Hong Kong last year, Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, only brought in $8.5 million and $6.6 million, respectively.

Movie tastes in Hong Kong differ significantly from mainland China, with Chinese film Wolf Warrior 2, which raked in a record $870 million in China, barely registering at the box office in the special administrative region and grossing less than $1 million.

Similarly, the biggest Hollywood release of 2017 in China, the $392.8 million grossing The Fate of the Furious, came in only sixth on Hong Kong’s top 10 box-office list with $6.1 million.

The top domestic release in Hong Kong, Love Off the Cuff, brought in $3.9 million in the territory. The film’s cumulative box office rose to $26.8 million in the mainland, a respectable result but barely a hit in the expanding Chinese marketplace.

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