There’s something wrong with that statistic. This article from the Wall Street Journal said that at the end of September there were almost 40,000 screens in China and that the number of screens was about to exceed the US total.
If you look at the column heading, you’ll see that the same number is reported for Opening Weekend Theaters, Maximum Theaters, and Theatrical Engagements. My guess is that the number actually reflects theatrical engagements, which is the number of times the movie was show across all screens.
I lived there from 2003-2005. Movie theaters were somewhat rare at that time. The only movie I saw there was Revenge of the Sith in May 2005. We had to search in Beijing, yes even in Beijing, to find a theater. It wasn’t super hard, but theaters were not everywhere back then.
I knew it was a huge untapped market. The DVD sales over there, mainly copied ones, are huge.
Good point, I also noticed the difference. If you take the China numbers and divide them by 4 one gets around 22 500 theaters which is more realistic number but still over 5 times the theaters in Canada/USA !!!
Not anymore. Most of the DVD shops are closed and the supermarkets no longer have a section of legal DVDs to buy. Everyone streams content over their phones instead. The only stores that I know are still open are next to foreign grocery stores because many foreigners don’t know how to navigate the Chinese video services and foreign video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube are all blocked.