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China's cinema boom brings blockbusters to rural residents this Spring Festival

For this years' Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 23, Liu Xia and her husband got something special from their son -- two cinema tickets for Chinese blockbuster "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate." As the mid-50s couple assumed their seats to watch the 3D extravaganza, it had been a dozen years since they had last been to the cinema.

Moreover, it was the first time many of their fellow residents of Suzhou, a small town in east China's Anhui province, were able to watch 3D movies. A new cinema with modern equipment recently opened there, part of a drive to bring big-screen films to the masses outside China's big cities.

Chen Xiang, a postgraduate student at a Shanghai university, returned to this small town to stay with her parents during the winter vacation. She was also surprised at the new cinema. "Without modern equipment, we can not enjoy blockbuster movies," she said.

"We are going to build more cinemas in large and small towns throughout our province," said Zhang Aihua, president of the Anhui Time Cinemas Company, the provincial movie distributor. Both urban and rural audiences in Anhui will be able to watch blockbusters in the coming two or three years, he noted.

China, with over 9,000 cinema screens as of 2011, has witnessed a mushrooming of modern cinemas nationwide in recent years, with an average daily increase of eight screens.

Last year, the industry reported total sales of 13.1 billion yuan (about 2.08 billion U.S. dollars), up 28.93 percent year-on-year.


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