WUHAN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's 2016 box office sales are expected to exceed the 2015 total of 44 billion yuan (6.38 billion U.S. dollars), the country's film watchdog said.
By the end of October, box office takings had exceeded 38 billion yuan.
Box office sales in the world's second largest film market have posted average growth of 35 percent year on year since 2003, said Tong Gang, deputy head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
In 2015 alone, it grew a whopping 48.7 percent, according to the SARFT.
Tong said that although this year's growth will be slightly lower than 35 percent due to the Chinese currency's depreciation, the film market will still see growth.
The country's film output ranks third in the global market and is expected to exceed 700 by the end of 2016. Sales of film rights to online video sites have raked in 4 billion yuan (560 million U.S. dollars) so far this year.
China's box office sales have increased from 1 billion yuan to 40 billion yuan in the past decade as the industry has adopted more market-oriented reform measures.
By 2020, annual box office sales are expected to reach 100 billion yuan, according to industry estimates.