China box office rakes in record 1.5 billion dollars in 2010

China is estimated to have made a record 10 billion yuan (15 billion dollars) in box office takings in 2010, state media said Monday, as a growing number of well-off urbanites flock to the cinema.



Wang Taihua, director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the nation's movie regulator, said more than 500 films were made in China last year, ranking it third globally, the official China Daily said.

James Cameron's "Avatar" became China's all-time box office champion, grossing 1.3 billion yuan.

"Aftershock", a story revolving around the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in northern China, was the highest-grossing domestic film, raking in more than 600 million yuan, the report said.

The Chinese movie industry is protected by a system that only allows around 20 foreign films to be screened a year, allowing homegrown directors to create Hollywood-style blockbusters without the threat of major overseas competition.

China has more than 1,800 cinemas featuring 5,690 screens, Wang was quoted as saying, and an average of three new screens were built every day in 2010 to meet demand.