Year of Dragon starts off with robust box-office takings and booming tourism, mirroring vitality, potential of China’s economy


The Chinese Lunar New Year holidays have witnessed a soaring film box office as it has soared past two billion yuan ($280 million), including presales, according to film tracking site Dengta, while tourists have flocked to scenic areas across the country with tickets at some popular spots quickly being sold out.

The surge of moviegoers has already propelled China's box office to a new height in the new year, the Year of Dragon.

Eight films are featuring on the silver screen during the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, which started on February 10 and will run until February 17, led by highly anticipated Pegasus 2, directed by Han Han and starring Shen Teng, and Yolo, directed and starring Jia Ling who recently topped domestic social media for losing 50 kilograms to shoot the movie.

The two films combined have contributed over 1.4 billion yuan to the total box office as of Sunday afternoon.

Another major contributor is Boonie Bears: The Wild Life, which continued the success of the Boonie Bears franchise, known for its comedic and educational content, earning more than 400 million yuan .

Following closely behind was Article 20, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Lei Jiayin and Ma Li, which garnered over 300 million yuan in ticket sales.

Mai Qi, a Beijing-based film critic, noted that the top-selling movies have plots which resonate with their audiences.

"The top-grossing films like Pegasus 2, Yolo and Article 20, focused on the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people in their everyday lives, which showcased characters overcoming adversity in a realistic and heartfelt manner, resonating with audiences nationwide," Mai told the Global Times, before adding the average ticket price for a movie has been lowered.

"It's worth noting that the achievement comes with a slight decrease in average ticket prices, which stood at 52.8 yuan compared to previous years. That means the enthusiasm toward the industry is growing."

According to data from film ticketing platform Maoyan, the Chinese mainland film market has accumulated a total box office revenue exceeding 5.45 billion yuan to date this year, making it rank at the top of global single-market box office provisionally.

The surge in moviegoers paralleled with the growing interest in tourism, as entry tickets for multiple high-profile scenic spots across the country have been sold out.

Local media reported that tickets for Suzhou Museum in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province have been fully booked until February 15, while tickets for the city's must-go Humble Administrator's Garden were only available after February 14.

The authority overseeing the management of Wawu Mountain in Southwest China's Sichuan Province is also calling the tourists to avoid peak period as its tickets have been sold out in advance.

The Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, a popular scenic spot in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, released a statement on Saturday night saying tickets for the museum has sold out to February 15.

The CCTV Spring Festival Gala has also made the co-host cities, Xi'an, Kashi in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Changsha in Central China's Hunan Province and Shenyang in Northeast China's Liaoning Province popular as tourist destinations.

Tourist search interest in Xi'an has surged by 294 percent compared to the previous period, while searches for Kashi have increased by 270 percent. Similarly, search interest in Changsha and Shenyang has risen by 243 percent and 235 percent respectively, domestic travel platform said

A report released by the China Tourism Academy, the data center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, projected that the total number of domestic tourist trips will exceed six billion in 2024, with the combined number of inbound and outbound tourist trips expected to surpass 260 million.

Consumption was a significant growth driver in China last year. Final consumption contributed 82.5 percent to the country's GDP growth in 2023.

Global Times