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China vows stricter supervision on ticket tallies

Reporter: Li Qiong 丨 CCTV.com

04-21-2016 00:14 BJT

It's boom times for film-going in China, but can regulators keep up? One high-profile case of padding box-office receipts has drawn attention to the breadth and depth of cheating by both distributors and individual cinemas.

Chinese animation movie "Monster Hunt" notched up several domestic box-office records in 2015, surpassing 2.4 billion yuan, but how real is the achievement?

China vows stricter supervision on ticket tallies

China vows stricter supervision on ticket tallies

The distributor has admitted 40 million of that income came from gifting tickets it purchased itself!

Social media has been abuzz about this incident, with netizens complaining "Monster Hunt"s first place is embarrassing, even humiliating.

But the distributor defends the strategy.

"We paid for the tickets, and we also paid tax on this portion of the income," said film maker of "Monster Hunt".

Moreover, as investigations continue, the number appears less and less credible.

And cinemas too are playing this dubious game. On August the 28th last year, the Hangzhou Broadway Cinema suddenly rose to the top of box-office takings with almost 800,000 yuan.

But that was a highly implausible seven times the previous day's takings!

The tally included 10 gifted sessions of "Monster Hunt" screened very late at night.

Did the cinema really put bums on seats?

The mall hosting the cinema says customer flow was minimal at that time.

Even in Beijing, cinemas are filing dodgy numbers, with booking systems showing a full house while auditoriums are largely empty even in the day time .

And the knavery goes even deeper, according to Gao Jun, former deputy director of the New Film Association.

"They might only need to pay 5% of the 40 million to run the project, and 3.3% to pay the tax. The digital devices might cost around 2%. So 10% in total. And the rent of the cinema can be ignored during night time," said Gao Jun, former deputy director, New Film Association.

It's a complicated equation, but the result is that for a 4-million investment, the distributor claims a 40 million box office! And the authorities have vowed proper punishment on the whole order of magnitude out of line with reality.

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