‘Bourne’ Helps Chinese Box Office in August Rebound From Slump

  • Chinese film authorities relax curbs on Hollywood films
  • Ticket sales had declined in three of past four months

China’s box office recovered from one of its worst slumps in years after the government relaxed summertime restrictions on Hollywood films by allowing the latest "Bourne" and "Ice Age" movies to play in local theaters.

Chinese ticket sales rose 12 percent to 4.05 billion yuan ($606 million) in August, compared with 3.62 billion yuan a year earlier, according to data compiled by Beijing-based researcher Entgroup Inc. During the April-to-June period, box office receipts had their first quarterly drop in five years, followed by an 18 percent decline in July.

In China, theaters typically curb showings of Hollywood blockbusters during the summer to protect the domestic industry from being overshadowed. That changed this year as ticket sales slumped, prompting Cinemas to show movies such as Matt Damon’s "Jason Bourne" and the cartoon "Ice Age: Collision Course" in August.

"Some foreign films have been let in during the domestic-film-protection period in order to boost box office," said David Hancock, head of film and cinema research at IHS Markit.

To read a Bloomberg View column on China’s box-office slump, click here