Wanda’s Detective Chinatown 3 is scheduled to release on Jan 24 in the UK, by Trinity CineAsia.
2019 set a new record in global cinema box-office by reaching £32bn. China’s box-office increased 5.4% to £7bn and the total in the UK was £1.25bn. As the UK Cinema Association comments, “2019 was another exceptional year for the UK cinema sector, with admissions at their second highest level in 50 years and box-office breaking the billion barrier for the third year running.”
The UK’s openness toward other cultures enables it to have an advantage that perhaps other EU countries can yet enjoy. Various policy that supports audience diversity has contributed to keeping the country’s cinema sector lively. Indeed, the ethnic focused cinema-going market has huge potentials in the UK’s exhibition business.
In the past years, there has been an increase of Chinese-language film distribution and exhibition in the UK, both blockbusters and arthouse. There were at least 20 Chinese-language films released in the country, which also set a new record high in history. The UK is also the most active in terms of engaging with Chinese film culture than its EU counterparts.
The Fu Manchu fantasy is ended and a new era has come.
Between 2017/2018, there were approximately 106,530 Chinese students enrolled at UK universities. This large number of community has created a new group of consumers, which is evident in the buzzing food and drink sector. However, in my opinion, cinemas in the UK have yet fully explored the economic potentials. Although chains like the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue have been programming Chinese-language films as a way to capture this group of consumers, most other cinemas in the UK are still not used to programme Chinese-language films. Certainly not for smaller chains or independent cinemas.
Cinema is about inclusivity. How can UK cinemas fully capture this group of new customers? A suggestion is to be proactive, instead of booking films only based on traditional channels to predict receptions. Just as Christmas for most, Chinese New Year means a great deal for the community, including British Chinese. While not being able to spend it with family, watching a film that is in release in parallel with home creates a form of symbolic connection…