SCMP Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Foreign movies more popular, poll shows


Hong Kong
moviegoers prefer overseas films to home-grown productions because they have better acting, direction and are grander in scale, a survey has found.
The findings have been reflected at the box office,
according to a survey by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority that was commissioned by the Government .
Only 21.3 per cent said they preferred going to the cinema rather than watching videos at home, because of the "unique environment" and "better facilities" in cinemas.
Other factors persuading them to stay at home included the price of tickets,
easily obtained pirated discs , and improved home-entertainment equipment .
The study of 1,309 movie-goers aged over 12 found that 49 per cent went to the cinema at least once a year. On average they watched five films last year.
The majority said they preferred imported films over home products because they were more skilfully directed, featured better acting and had grander scenes.
"The findings indicate
quality is the major reason for the low-attendance rate at local movies . Ticket prices can be lowered to boost competitiveness, but the long-term solution is to improve the quality ," a spokesman for the authority said . The survey also showed that most moviegoers were 12 to 29 who on average went to the cinema 7.5 times a year.
The main appeal of local films was their use of Cantonese and their simpler
story lines . Most respondents said the story content was the most influential factor in their choice of movies and comedy was their favourite genre .
The findings come as Hong Kong cinemas head for their biggest summer box-office takings in years.
While takings will not be finalised until the end of September, the Motion Pictures Industry Association estimates they will be 30 per cent higher than the past two summers. Between June and August, 12 major local and foreign films raked in at least $259 million.