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Surging box office, zero merchandise revenue


04-20-2016 05:48 BJT

The 6th Beijing International Film Festival kicked off in the capital on Saturday with stars crowding the red carpet But we found that there's a void in China's movie industry. While China's box office is surging, the country's revenue from movie merchandising is nearly zero, but the local industry is looking to change that.

How about a movie hero in real life? Mr. Chen is a big fan of science fiction movies and animations and his hobby is to collect favourite movie merchandise.

"I love the movie Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr, I bought every Iron man model. I have more than 20 models in my collection."

"I became a fan of Transformers in 2011 when the Dark of the Moon hit the cinema. I have 500 transformers models now."

Movie fans' affection can be turned into money.

"Fans like me spend 10 to 20 thousand yuan a year on merchandise on average. Some even buy two of the same models, one for the collection and the other to play with. They spend 40 to 50 thousand yuan a year. "

However most of the money end up in the pocket of Hoolywood. That's a shame for many Chinese movie makers.

"Domestic animation movies like Monster Hunt did well in the box office. The images in the movie were also suitable to create merchandise. But it was too late to authorize merchandise when the movie hit the cinemas," Xiang Ming, VP of Beijing Weying Technology Co. Ltd., said.

Live-action animation "Monster Hunt" earned more than 2 billion yuan last year and ranked first in the Chinese box office.

The main character monster "Huba" accumulated millions of fans. But when they searched on the internet for Huba merchandise. They found this..or this. The director tried, but failed.

"In Hollywood, say it takes 3 years to make a movie, they'll start to develop merchandise in the second year. But in China, we don't have much experience. We tried to find a merchandise partner for Monster Hunt" at the beginning, but no one was willing to talk to us until the movie hit the cinemas," Monster Hunt director Xu Chengyi said.

Director Xu may have missed a merchandising opportunity for the wildly successful run in cinema. But as many Chinese film makers have realized how promising the market is, they'll be learning from this lesson to feed the growing appetite of customers.

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