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Looking ahead 2018

Chinese films held back by one-party rule

Beijing's heavy hand dooms dreams of global blockbusters to disappointment

| China

2017 was a good year for blockbuster hit movies in China. The top 10 highest-grossing locally made pictures earned an aggregated 16.1 billion yuan, or $2.4 billion, far more than the $1.9 billion earned by the top 10 foreign imports mostly from Hollywood.

But if you live outside the People's Republic of China, the odds are slim that you saw any of the top 10, let alone any of the hundreds more that were churned out by the country's huge production industry. And chances are equally slim that you will see any of the 800 or so movies that China will offer to the world in 2018 either. Hollywood's movies sold some $18 billion worth of tickets outside of North America in 2017; Chinese movies earned a tiny fraction of that amount internationally, barely 1%. The country's biggest hit ever, the action-thriller "Wolf Warrior II," earned $854 million at the Chinese box office, but just $4 million overseas.

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