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Bollywood, Hollywood or Chinese Cinema: Which film industry makes the most?

Jury member Elle Fanning poses for photographers upon arrival at the opening ceremony and the premiere of the film 'The Dead Don't Die' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Elle Fanning poses at the 72nd international film festival. Source: AAP

Hollywood is known for its high-flying actors and actresses, but while the US holds the title for the oldest film industry in the world, it’s not the only major film capital anymore.

If you take a 20-something hour flight from Hollywood to India’s south-west coastal city of Mumbai, you’ll be right in the heart of Bollywood, a film capital which takes its title from Mumbai’s former name, Bombay.


If you hop on a seven hour flight from Mumbai to China, you’ll land in yet another film capital: Beijing, famous for the Cinema of China.

According to Variety, the global film industry brings in a whopping $60.1 billion in revenue as of 2018, with Disney responsible for almost a fifth of that figure.

Here’s the break-down of each country’s revenue:

Hollywood: $50.9 billion

In the US, the film industry means business. Big business. Actually, it’s the biggest business, in terms of revenue.

By the end of this year, the US film industry will hit $50.9 million, and according to data and statistics site Statista, it’s expected to generate $72.1 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.

Looking at film studios, Buena Vista achieved the most in 2017, holding the largest market share at 22 per cent, and generated the highest box office revenue at over $3.5 billion. Warner Bros held around 18 per cent of the market share in the US, and 20th Century Fox held 12 per cent of the share.

In 2017, 724 movies were released in the US, with the most successful movie franchise – the Marvel Cinematic Universe – generating over $9.8 billion of box office revenue.

Scarlett Johansson, famous for her role as Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers, was the highest paid actress in the world in 2018, with an insane annual income of $58.4 million, while George Clooney was the highest paid male actor with an annual income of $344 million.

Cinema of China: $12.8 billion

According to Reuters, China’s is the second-largest movie market globally after the US in terms of revenue, banking in around $12.8 billion last year.

Despite clocking in less revenue, China sells over 500 million more tickets than the US per year, and domestic films in 2018 recorded ticket sales of just under $8 billion, which accounts for 62 per cent of the total box office.

The number of movie screens reached 60,079 across the country last year, which is just over 9,000 more than the previous year, and compares to around 40,000 screens in the US.

China has become an increasingly important region for global producers looking to pump up their box office returns, and is on track to eventually overtake the US in the film market despite a quota on imported films and strict censorship, according to Reuters.

Bollywood: $2.83 billion

With approximately 2.2 billion Bollywood movie tickets sold annually throughout the country, India has cemented itself as the leading film market when it comes to selling seats, beating China by over 200 million, and trumping the US (no pun intended) by 800 million.

As of 2016, India was also the largest producer of films in the world, and it looks like it’s gotten even bigger with the Film Federation of India recording an annual output of 1,986 feature films and 364 Bollywood Hindi films the following year.

Statista reported the current value of the Indian film industry was $2.83 billion, but Strange Markets reports by 2021, Bollywood will be reaping around $4.5 billion.

According to India-based entertainment site Propakistani, Bollywood’s highest paid actor Akshay Kumar took home $58 million last year, which puts him in around fourth place when compared to Hollywood actors and on par with Scarlett Johansson.

But there’s a pretty stark difference between female stars and male stars: film site Filmfare estimates Deepika Padukone is India’s highest-paid actress, banking $202,041 per film.

On that list is also Priyanka Chopra who recently broke into the Hollywood scene and charges around $173,178 per film.

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