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For all the talk of China’s economic problems — and mounting evidence of a slowing consumer sector —the box office is booming.

尽管大家都在谈论中国的经济问题——以及越来越多的消费部门放缓的证据——但中国的电影票房正呈现火爆之势。

Hits such as Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid saw the country’s box office take in February surpass that of the North American market for the first month on record, putting China on track to become the world’s biggest box office as soon as 2017.

周星驰(Stephen Chow)导演的《美人鱼》(The Mermaid)等卖座影片使中国2月份票房收入自有记录以来首次超过北美市场,中国有望最早于2017年成为世界上最大票房市场。

February’s record haul of Rmb6.9bn ($1.06bn) was inflated by the week-long Chinese new year holiday, when some other entertainment venues tend to close.

为期一周的中国春节假期(其间一些其他的娱乐场所往往停业)带动了2月创纪录的69亿元人民币(合10.6亿美元)的票房收入。

FT Confidential Research, a Financial Times research service, forecasts 2016’s total box office may grow 30 per cent to Rmb55bn, following 2015’s 48 per cent increase.

英国《金融时报》旗下研究服务部门《投资参考》(FT Confidential Research)预计,继2015年增长48%之后,2016年中国票房总收入可能增长30%,至550亿元人民币。

Comparisons with the popularity of cinema in the US during the Great Depression are fatuous. Rather than reflecting the need for escape from harsh economic reality, the growth of the Chinese box office is a product of rising incomes and the expanding leisure pursuits of an urban consuming class. Besides, US cinema attendance actually dropped between 1929 and1934, despite hefty admissions price cuts.

拿中国火爆的票房与美国大萧条(Great Depression)时期的电影风靡进行比较是愚蠢的。中国电影票房增长是城市消费阶层收入不断提升以及休闲需求不断扩大的结果,而非反映人们逃避严酷经济现实的需要。此外,1929年至1934年间,美国的观影人数实际上出现了下滑——尽管票价大幅下降。

Barring economic calamity, FT Confidential Research expects the box office boom to continue,even accounting for reported fiddling of audience figures by distributors. Our survey of 1,000households across China found robust appetite for the movies, and a willingness to spend more on going to the cinema in the coming months.

除非出现经济灾难,《投资参考》预计,中国的票房火爆现象将延续下去,即便考虑到有报道称发行方对观影人数造假。我们对中国各地1000个家庭的调查发现,中国民众对电影的需求强烈,而且愿意在未来几个月花更多钱去看电影。

This trend is being driven by disposable incomes, which have grown in urban areas at a compound annual growth rate of about 11 per cent over the past five years. It is helped along by the aggressive build-out of screens across all city tiers.

中国人的可支配收入水平推动了这一趋势。过去5年,城市居民可支配收入的年均复合增长率为11%左右。中国各线城市电影屏幕的快速增加也带动了这一趋势。

FTCR’s proprietary survey of urban residents found respondents made an average 10 visits to the cinema over the past 12 months. In the total population, Chinese people made 1.4visits to the movies per person, according to the National Bureau of Statistics; the equivalent for the US and Canada combined was 3.7 in 2014, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

《投资参考》对中国城市居民所做的专项调查发现,过去12个月,受访者到影院观影次数为人均10次。中国国家统计局的数据显示,按总人口算,中国民众到影院观影的次数为人均1.4次;而根据美国电影协会(Motion Picture Association of America)数据,2014年,美国与加拿大合计人均到影院观影次数为3.7次。

Chinese movie-goers spend an average Rmb65 at the cinema, including Rmb35 on the ticket itself.

中国电影观众在影院的平均支出为65元人民币,其中包括35元人民币的票价。

Respondents told FTCR that they would be willing to increase their per-visit spend by as much as 25 per cent in the coming 12 months, implying a greater appetite to buy the heavily-marked-up popcorn and soft drinks that are the hallmarks of cinema-going in more developed markets.

受访者对《投资参考》表示,他们愿意在未来12个月将单次观影消费增加多达25%,这意味着他们将购买更多价格不菲的爆米花和软饮料,这些都是更发达市场看电影时的标配。

Reports of “ghost screenings” — screenings through the night in empty cinemas to inflate the reported box office take — have circulated for months, and the government may finally betaking action. Industry insiders acknowledge these fraudulent activities, and that some of the reported audiences simply don’t exist. But they also say the sheer size of China’s box office,with its extraordinary growth rates, is very real.

关于“幽灵场次”——在没有观众的电影院彻夜放映电影以虚增票房收入——的报道已经发酵了数月,政府最终可能会采取行动。业内人士承认存在这些欺骗性活动,一些所谓的观众其实根本不存在。但是他们也表示,增速惊人的中国票房规模千真万确。

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