Let's Go to the Movies in China

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By the year 2020, China is predicted to be the leading market for movie theaters. With the largest population in the world, it's no surprise that China will soon start setting box office records. Dozens of Hollywood films are shown in Chinese movie theaters in English with Chinese subtitles, along with other international movies and domestically produced movies. As in other countries, going out to the movies is a popular social activity, and even works the same way. Movie theaters are most often found inside shopping malls, which are everywhere in big cities. You can buy tickets at the theater or, more often, use your phone to buy tickets. Many theaters now have assigned seating. Movie theaters usually sell food or you can buy food in the shopping center and bring it in with you.

If you just want to watch a movie but want to stay in the comfort of your own home, Chinese video apps have a wide selection of movies and TV shows to choose from. Similar to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon in the USA, there are paid VIP services with a monthly fee to access new releases and premium content without advertisements. Without VIP service, you can still usually watch a show or movie on one of the many video streaming apps: Youku, iQiy, and Tencent video, to name a few. All of these apps have approximately one minute of ads at the start of a video if you watch them for free.

An added bonus for Chinese movie and TV apps is the ability to download movies. When riding public transportation, many people around you are watching TV shows or movies on their phone, most likely downloaded via one of the video apps. Just like in other countries, content producers are now creating content exclusively for video app companies and skipping releases on TV or in movie theaters.


This article is part of our new online Chinese course. An efficient way to learn Chinese language for working and living in China.