BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- A variety of movie choices convinced 50-year-old Beijing moviegoer, Dai Kui, to frequent cinemas this summer.
"From reality film, sci-fi movie, romance film to cartoon, I visited cinemas five times this summer. I feel that there were many more people visiting cinemas this summer compared to the same period last year," Dai said.
According to the China Film Administration, as of last Saturday, China's summer box office hit 7.382 billion yuan (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars), slightly surpassing last year's 7.381 billion yuan in the same period.
The summer movie season, spanning three months until Aug. 31, is usually a busy moviegoing period in China. During the current season, the box office market was hit by sporadic resurgences of COVID-19. Chinese cities including Shanghai and Beijing suspended operation of movie theaters in locations where epidemic flare-ups were experienced.
"The sound box office this summer has injected a vitality into the film industry," said Chen Gang, a professor at Beijing Normal University.
He said that the sci-fi comedy "Moon Man," heart-warming reality film "Lighting Up The Stars," and the art film "Return to Dust" had enjoyed strong ticket sales, boosting the confidence of the Chinese film industry.
At the 12th Beijing International Film Festival held from August 13 to 20, over 130 Chinese and foreign films were screened for discussion and appreciation.
"The popularity of the movie screening activities at the festival and the box office this summer all manifest the public enthusiasm for film consumption and entertainment," said Li Daoxin, deputy dean of the School of Arts at Peking University.
Li said that filmmakers in China are making headway in catering better for the market, despite the epidemic headwind.
Although the film industry was hit hard by COVID-19, the Chinese government has introduced a number of policies to bail out the film market.
Data released by the China Film Administration shows that the total box office in China in 2021 stood at nearly 47.3 billion yuan, of which domestically-made films yielded 39.9 billion yuan, accounting for 84.49 percent of the total. China had 82,248 theater screens, the most in the world.
"China has fostered the world's largest film market. Chinese filmmakers have withstood the market test with great efforts," Li said.
Over the past three years under the epidemic impact, Chinese filmmakers supplied a large number of high-quality films to the market, such as "The Battle at Lake Changjin," "A Writer's Odyssey" and "Hi, Mom."
"Despite the epidemic, China's film industry is still in its golden development era, appealing to investment, talents and audiences," said Li Weiqiang, chairman of Poly Film Investment Corporation Limited.
Industry insiders at the festival suggested that Chinese films should pursue greater international competitiveness and a global audience.
"Chinese filmmakers need to go global and tell more stories of humanity to let moviegoers around the world appreciate and enjoy China-made movies," Li Daoxin said. ■