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China helps movie ticket sales rise 1% worldwide


The world movie box office was up 1 per cent last year from 2013, but ticket sales in the US and Canada fell about 5 per cent as growth became concentrated in China, the Motion Picture Association of America said on Wednesday.


The group's annual statistical survey found that ticket sales rose to $US36.4 billion ($47.95 billion) in 2014 and $US10.4 billion of that was from the US and Canada and sales in China reaching $US4.8 billion, a 34 per cent increase from the year before.


The report brought few surprises, as the pattern of decline at home and growth abroad was clear through much of the year. But the survey spotted trends in ticket-buying habits that, should they continue, could provoke change in films or their marketing and distribution.


In one notable shift, domestic per capita ticket sales rose last year to 3.1 tickets annually among viewers aged 50 to 59, higher than any year in the past five, and viewing rose slightly among those aged 40 to 49.


Per-capita sales among those younger than 40 fell. The sharpest year-to-year drop, almost 20 per cent, was among those aged 25 to 39.


Overall, per-capita domestic ticket sales fell to 3.7, about 16 per cent lower than recent peaks of 4.4 achieved in 2005, 2006 and 2007, the report said.


The number of 3D screens in the US and Canada reached a high of 16,146, up 364 from 2013, but box-office sales for 3D films fell 21 per cent, to $US1.4 billion from $US1.8 billion in 2013. The 2014 sales were down more than 36 per cent from their peak of $US2.2 billion in 2010.


In one sign of industry growth, the number of films released last year by big studios and their subsidiaries rose for the first time since 2006, to 136 from 114 in 2013.


The total number of films released in the domestic market grew 7 per cent, to 707, from 659, continuing a long-term expansion that has been fed by smaller independent movies that are often released in only a few theaters before moving to on-demand services.



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