The 2022 Spring Festival box office is the second highest ever, but that’s not a good sign
Article | from easy during the Spring Festival in 2022.Chinese films raked in 6.03 billion yuan during the Lunar New Year, the year of the Tiger, according to the latest statistics from the State Film Administration.Though a big gap from last year’s 7.8 billion yuan, this year’s Box office is the second highest on record, slightly surpassing 2019’s 5.9 billion yuan before the pandemic.01. High ticket prices far exceed residents’ income level Actually from the box office data, unsatisfactory.The large number of screeners raises a red flag for the industry that the 2022 Spring Festival “second all-time” will not be based on an increase in audience numbers, but on a rise in ticket prices.A total of 114 million people went to cinemas this Spring Festival, down 46 million from 160 million last year, and down from 132 million in 2019 and 145 million in 2018.In contrast, the average ticket price for the Spring Festival in 2022 was the highest ever, breaking 50 yuan for the first time at 52.8 yuan, higher than 48.8 yuan in 2021, 44.6 yuan in 2019 and 39.7 yuan in 2018.Generally, movie tickets are priced at no more than 1% of the monthly income of the average worker in the country.In 2021, the average monthly disposable income of Chinese residents is 2,927 yuan, and a ticket price range of 30 yuan is the most reasonable.Even though the ticket price may increase to some extent due to the particularity of holidays during the Spring Festival, it is more in line with the income of ordinary people to control the average ticket price of 36.4 yuan during the Spring Festival in 2016.However, the average ticket price for this year’s Spring Festival exceeded 50 yuan, roughly in line with the average ticket price of $9.11 in the United States, where the average monthly disposable income is nine times higher than ours.52.8 yuan is the national average.In first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, prime time movie tickets in popular locations easily exceed 150 yuan.A family of three can pay 450 yuan for a movie, which is about the price of a normal concert.The audience’s enthusiasm for watching the film was severely discouraged.The frequency of movie viewing in China has always been low (one per capita per year, lower than the average of five times per year in the US during the non-COVID-19 period), with a core audience of 200 million.The impact of the epidemic has profoundly changed people’s way of entertainment consumption. Offline consumption has been hit hard. More people prefer to stay at home playing games and watching short videos.Ordinary people are not so optimistic about the economy, they are more cautious about spending, more price sensitive.Instead of broadening the core audience, ticket prices have skyrocketed, driving them away.The number of core moviegoers has decreased, and the average moviegoing frequency has stagnated, which means that the lackluster situation will continue to other periods, thus dragging down the overall market of Chinese films throughout the year.02. Who is to blame for high ticket prices?It’s all the theater’s fault, but it’s the film’s fault in the first place.Compared with previous years, this year’s Spring Festival film release price is 5 yuan higher than in previous years, the lowest price of A city (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) is 40 yuan, the lowest price of B city is 35 yuan.With a service charge of 3 yuan, this means that the producers have already set a minimum price for cinemas: 43 yuan in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and 38 yuan in other cities.Based on the lowest settlement price, a few yuan increase in theater operating costs and employee expenses will drive up ticket prices during the Spring Festival.Until February 6, Sniper announced that from February 7, it would lower the minimum settlement price to 35 yuan for Category A and 30 yuan for category B (down 5 yuan for each).It was the first of eight new Chinese New Year films to lower their price limit, and so far the only one.The producers are to blame, and they are benefiting from higher ticket prices, while the theaters bear the brunt of the fire.Cinema gives the argument, also shows their helplessness.Cinemas have been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with a number of closures and a large majority of losses.Cinema is a heavy asset industry, whether open or not, rent, equipment maintenance, staff salaries and other mandatory expenditures.Before the epidemic, due to low movie-going frequency and low attendance rate, cinemas were highly dependent on the Chinese New Year holiday season, and they were “open for half a year”, waiting for the Return of the Chinese New Year holiday season.Due to the impact of COVID-19, audiences’ enthusiasm for going to the cinema has been severely hit, and the film industry’s production capacity supply has been severely reduced (the number of new films to be released in 2021 is over 200 fewer than before the epidemic). Cinemas are empty and empty during their regular schedule, and they are losing money whether they open or not.Cinemas rely more heavily on the Spring Festival season, and even the Spring Festival season has become the only hope for some cinemas.Not knowing when cinemas will close again, how many imported films will be released in the New Year, and how bleak the outlook will be, cinemas are driven by a myopic, profit-seeking and negative mentality to “get more money quickly” and raise prices as fast as possible.Cinema is not unaware of this is to drink poison to quench thirst, but if not price is also dead?Do not increase the price of people watching movies is still falling, the New Year’s theater line is still cold, more fishing is not more money?3. High ticket prices are not the only problem exposed during the Spring Festival, so the price increase of cinemas seems to be the “cause” of the slump in the number of moviegoers during the Spring Festival, but in fact, the price increase of cinemas is also the “result” of various disadvantages of China’s film industry under the epidemic.How do you motivate people to go back to the cinema?Although the epidemic is not difficult to predict, the closure policy of cinemas should be more predictable. The one-size-fits-all approach is not conducive to the normal operation of the economy and society, and it is not easy for audiences to recover their moviegoing habits once cinemas are closed for a long time.Ultimately, there needs to be a large supply of quality films to regain the audience’s interest and confidence in films (both domestic and imported).Several blockbusters of the Spring Festival, although the overall reputation is acceptable, but the type is obviously not diversified.Of the five live-action blockbusters, the theme occupied three, with only one pure comedy, The Killer Is not too Calm, and tragicomedy, The Four Seas, was not well received.Compared with the previous Spring Festival, comedies are badly short and the genre is too single.Audiences have limited choice space, which objectively causes some audiences to have little interest in this Year’s Spring Festival, leading to the loss of moviegoers.High ticket prices are one of the most obvious — and perhaps the most confusing — problems exposed during this year’s Spring Festival season.Hopefully, the industry will be able to reflect on the underlying causes of high ticket prices, rather than thinking that it has found a “reason” to ignore other problems.