Online film fans take the helm

An industry report outlines the impact of review sites on China’s movie market, Xu Fan reports.

Nearly 90 percent of Chinese theatergoers now purchase their tickets online, a recent report from the China Film Association shows, in another sign of the powerful influence that the internet has on the domestic movie industry.

According to the annual China Film Industry Report, 60.8 percent of moviegoers on the Chinese mainland used online ticketing platforms to find out about the latest films last year, 15 percent more than 2017.

Word-of-mouth has become one of the most important aspects that can decide a film’s market prospects in our internet-oriented society, says Liu Jia, a visiting professor at the Beijing Film Academy and one of the writers of the report.

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Citing the example of Dying to Survive, a film based on a true story about the plight of a leukemia patient, Liu says the decision by distributors to hold test screenings two weeks ahead of its general release across the Chinese mainland last July paid off.

Racking up a swathe of favorable online reviews and a score of 9.0 points out of 10 on popular rating platform Douban, the movie examining real-life social problems soon became a phenomenal hit.

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