Bollywood production houses are increasing their presence in the Chinese market, as they look at distribution and production opportunities in Dragon Land.
This comes in the wake of Aamir Khan starrer Dangal becoming a smashing hit in China earlier this year.
Even in Hong Kong and Macau, the film managed a box office collection of ₹15.38 crore.
Previously, Aamir’s PK too had raked in a revenue of 100 million yuan. SS Rajamouli’s mega blockbuster Baahubali is slated to release in 6,000 screens later this month in China.
Several Indo-China film collaborations are in the pipeline.
However, there’s no guarantee of success. Salman Khan’s Tubelight, which released earlier this year and included Chinese actor Zhu Zhu in its cast, was moderately received. Kung Fu Yoga, starring Jackie Chan and Sonu Sood, which was touted as a major breakthrough in Indo-Chinese co-production, fell flat at the box office.
Production houses and distributors are looking at the Chinese market as the country has nearly 40,000 screens, compared to India, which has only about 7,000 screens.
Eros International-owned Trinity Production has entered into an agreement with Chinese companies Huaxia Film Distribution Co Ltd and Peacock Mountain Culture & Media to co-produce three bilingual films. These include The Zoo Keeper by Kabir Khan and Love in Beijing.
“We are working to promote bilingual films. Our team of writers has already met its Chinese counterpart and creating scripts in line with the ethos of both the nations,” said Ajit Thakur, CEO, Eros Trinty Pictures.
Currently China’s foreign films box office is dominated by Hollywood. Data indicate that the country’s box office has grown at the rate of over 40 per cent annually from 2012 to 2015, fuelled by the growth in number of screens.
China has quotas for imported films. Last year, the Chinese government increased the quota from 34 to 39 films. Industry watchers estimate it to climb to 70 in coming years.
While Hollywood accounts for a bulk of the quota, Indian films’ quota has been increased from two to four. The higher quota came as the two countries stepped up joint productions after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in 2015. According to a PwC report, China is expected to overtake the US box office, growing to $10.3 billion.