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Hong Kong Top 10 Films in 2012



Country of


Gross Receipts
(US$ million)


The Avengers (2012)




The Dark Knight Rises




The Amazing Spider-Man








Life of Pi




Cold War

Hong Kong



Les Miserables (2012)








Ice Age: Continental Drift




The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



Source: Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association

Hong Kong’s total box office revenue in 2012 reached US$200 million, representing a 12 percent increase from 2011. The rise is attributed mainly to record-breaking animated pictures and premium-priced 3D films. 291 films were released in Hong Kong in 2012, with over 75 percent of them being imported from the United States. The highest-grossing films included The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Eight of the ten highest-grossing films in 2012 were imported from the U.S.

There are four key locally owned theater operators in Hong Kong (Broadway, UA, Golden Harvest and MCL). Of Hong Kong’s 45 theaters, which are comprised of 199 screens and 34,537 seats, these top 4 theaters account for 75 percent of the theater locations, 86 percent of screens, 79 percent of total seats and 80 percent of total box office performance. Film revenues are expected to increase as new multiplexes and 3D theaters continue to open. Digital distribution is also increasing through programs such as the Direct Cinema Exchange (DCX).

102 film distributors are registered with the Hong Kong Film Services Office. There are several theatrical distribution companies located in Hong Kong who serve as local distributors for the major studios, including Intercontinental Video Limited (exclusive distributor for Walt Disney, Universal and Paramount), Delta Mac (Warner Brothers and Fox), and Era Movies (Sony). Local film distributors include Media Asia, Panasia/Golden Harvest Entertainment, Edko, Newport and Sil-Metropole. Smaller distributors include Golden Scene, Lark Film, Sundream, Applause Pictures, Celestial Pictures, Gala, and Mandarin Film. Distributors have preferential revenue-sharing agreements with both film producers and film exhibitors, and typically advance the up-front costs for marketing and producing 35mm prints or digital copies of the film. Under the Film Censorship Ordinance of 1988, Hong Kong has a three-tier system of film classification. All films must be approved by the Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing before being distributed to the public.

The Hong Kong government has demonstrated support for the film sector with the establishment of the Film Development Council and Create Hong Kong within the Commerce and Economic Bureau. Create Hong Kong is intended to integrate existing policy and funding initiatives across government departments to boost the development of Hong Kong’s creative industries. Hong Kong’s film sector is also benefiting from the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with China where Hong Kong firms in film distribution and production enjoy preferential access to mainland China.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Opportunities for U.S. firms go beyond the box office to include film production technology, multi-media content, and related services. Best Prospects in Hong Kong and Macau are:

  • U.S. independent feature or documentary films and videos that Hong Kong firms can distribute in Asia, especially mainland China;
  • Co-productions between U.S. and Hong Kong firms for distribution in China and Asia;
  • U.S. technology products used in movie theaters in China and elsewhere in Asia;
  • Cooperative agreements with U.S. film education and training institutions;
  • U.S. film financing and deal-structuring techniques and services.


Content Distribution. U.S. exporters should consider selling content licenses to TV stations in the region, as well as to Hong Kong agents for both Hong Kong rights and broader Asia regional rights. For example, The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA), Hong Kong's telecoms regulator, has granted a license for China Mobile to provide Mobile TV Service in mid-2010. The license requires that China Mobile must use at least 75 percent of its transmission capacity to deliver mobile TV content and extend its service coverage to at least 50% of the city's population within 18 months after the issuance of the license. This presents business opportunities for U.S. companies to sell films and TV programs to the Mobile TV Service Providers. U.S. companies interested in this opportunity should consider producing programs that cater to Hong Kong viewer preferences.

Co-production. Co-production and co-funded projects with Hong Kong companies offer another set of opportunities. With the full implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), Hong Kong’s position as a center for Asian co-production with international companies was reinforced. Under CEPA, Hong Kong-China co-productions are treated as local productions in China. By cooperating with Hong Kong producers, U.S. firms can enjoy local production treatment for enhanced access to the China market.

Non-cinema production. U.S. film companies should consider Asia’s growing market for multi-media properties. Local consumers are keen to see new content and related applications for games, comic books, and mobile phone downloads, in addition to traditional films and TV programs. In-flight entertainment is also a growing niche that should not be overlooked.

3D Movies. As mentioned earlier, the opening of new 3D cinemas has helped grow box office potential in Hong Kong. Out of the 199 screens in Hong Kong, over 90 of them are equipped with 3D projection systems. Thus, 3D movies are expected to continue to do well.

Web Resources

Major Trade Shows

Filmart 2014
Dates: March 24-27, 2014
Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong
Website: http://www.hkfilmart.com/filmart/index.htm

Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum 2012
Dates: March 24-26, 2014
Venue: Hall 1, Hong Kong Conventional and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong
Website: http://www.haf.org.hk/haf/

Trade Associations

Hong Kong Film Development Council: http://www.fdc.gov.hk/en/home/index.htm
Hong Kong International Film Festival: http://www.hkfilmart.com/filmart/chi/buyreg.htm
Hong Kong International Screen Association Limited: http://www.hkisal.org

Film Journals

Film Business Asia: http://www.filmbiz.asia/
Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/topic/asia

U.S. Commercial Service Hong Kong

Contact: Ms. Fanny Chau, Commercial Specialist
Tel: (852) 2521-3721
Fax: (852) 2845-9800
Email: fanny.chau@trade.gov
Website: www.export.gov/hongkong