A short article from Variety Asia Online says that the mainland China movie industry had an increase of 27% in box office revenues for 2008 (worth about U.S. $622 million). Chinese films were responsible for slightly more than 60% of that income according to the China Film Bureau .
The biggest grossing film in China last year was Red Cliff, a historically-based epic about the Battle of Red Cliffs in ancient Han Dynasty China. The film made U.S. $45.3 million in China and over U.S. $102 million worldwide. Red Cliff also has the distinction of being the most expensive Asian-produced movie with a budget of around U.S. $80 million.
Other top grossing films were CJ7, Painted Skin, American-produced The Forbidden Kingdom, Kung Fu Dunk, If You are the One and Forever Enthralled.
Interestingly, increasing numbers of Chinese people are going to movie theaters to watch movies even though pirated DVD copies can be easily and cheaply purchased. This is probably due to the fact that as China's economy has grown, more people have disposable income and are willing to pay more to see a movie in a theater for the entertainment experience (going-out, group-oriented activity) rather than watching pirated copies at home.