Propelled by China, overseas moviegoing surges

NEW YORK (AP) — Propelled by growth in China, global moviegoing reached a record high of $40.6 billion in 2017 despite a downturn in audiences at U.S. and Canada theaters.

In its annual report Wednesday, the Motion Picture Association of America promoted the overseas surge, where the box office was up 7 percent in 2017. That helped mitigate the lowest attendance at domestic movie theaters in 22 years.

Much of the global increase was thanks to China, which accounted for $7.9 billion in ticket sales. In the first quarter of 2018, the Chinese movie market overtook North America for the first time.

The growing importance of Chinese moviegoers to Hollywood comes amid mounting trade tensions between the U.S. and China. China responded Wednesday to Trump administration tariff proposals with its own tariffs on American products.