--FILE--A signboard of a Wanda Cinema IMAX is seen at a shopping mall in Hangzhou city, east Chinas Zhejiang province, 5 January 2015. China's biggest movie theater operator Wanda Cinema Line Corp is seeking to raise 1.26 billion yuan ($203.26 million) through an initial public offering, scaling back its original listing plan, people with knowledge of the matter said. The chain controlled by Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co. Chairman Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest men, had planned to raise up to 2 billion yuan through the Shenzhen listing, according to a prospectus published last year. The source said Wanda Cinema has is now seeking about 21 yuana share - less than originally planned - following guidance from the stock market regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), which has been moving to tighten IPO sales. The theater operator is offering 60 million shares, or around 10.7 percent of the company. "Wanda Cinema doesn't care how much it will raise in the IPO," said one of the sources. "The key of the listing is to open doors for the company's future development and expansion."
Shan he—Imaginechina/AP

Math can be a frightening thing, especially if you’re a Hollywood studio exec invested in the continued predominance of American movies. Like most every other American industry, Hollywood looks east and sees a growing colossus in China, which has experienced year-over-year growth in the last two years of 27 and 36 percent. China’s movie business is thriving, and no one with an appreciation for numbers doubts that it will eventually eclipse the North American market.

But “eventually” just got a whole lot closer: In February, China’s monthly box-office topped the U.S. market for the first time.

The Hollywood Reporter, citing figures from the research firm Entgroup, determined that China grossed $650 million in February, a record monthly haul boosted by that country’s Lunar New Year holiday. The U.S. box office finished with $640 million. Of perhaps greater concern to American studios is the fact that the record Chinese month at the movies occurred mainly without the boost of Hollywood blockbusters. During the Chinese holiday period, their film authorities typically clear the path for their own domestic releases, and that strategy paid off. The top movie in February was The Man From Macau II, starring Chow Yun-fat, which grossed $104 million. Second, with $95 million, was Dragon Blade, starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack, and Adrien Brody. Third was the Chinese-French co-production, Wolf Totem, with $73 million, followed by Zhong Kui: Snow White and the Dark Crystal ($56 million) and the romance, Somewhere Only We Know ($44 million). The final Hobbit film (which opened in January) and Mockingjay were the leading Hollywood blockbusters in China for the month.

China is currently experiencing explosive growth in the construction of movie theaters, with 15 new screens being added every day. Currently, there are approximately 23,600 screens in China, less than the 40,000 in the U.S., but 475 percent more than China had in 2008. At the current rate—and considering the potential of a billion-plus-person population—some analysts predict that the Chinese market will surpass North America in 2017. That date seems a whole lot closer now.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

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