CHENGDU, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Movie fans in southwest China couldn't afford to be picky if they wanted to score cinema seats during this year's week-long Spring Festival holiday.
Li Ting, a resident of Zhongjiang County in Sichuan Province, planned to watch domestic film "Detective Chinatown 2" at 5 p.m. Tuesday, but only a few seats in the first row of a movie theater were left.
"No tickets are left. We need to decide which movie as quickly as possible," Li told her friends over the phone.
Sold out shows were common in cinemas in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and surrounding cities like Deyang, Mianyang and Leshan during this year's Spring Festival holiday.
Movie-goers rushed to any movie they could get tickets to.
A theater run by Wanda Cinemas in Mianyang set a sales record this year. The box office earnings hit 2.7 million yuan (426,000 U.S. dollars) from Feb. 15 to Feb. 21, ranking first among all theaters across the province.
The local theater chain, Pacific Cinemas, also saw a sales record, with 3.95 million people spending 140 million yuan on tickets during the holiday, ranking first among all theaters in central and west China.
Wang Yan, general manager of a Chengdu cinema, said this year there were more family viewers and many customers watched three to four movies in a row.
"I remembered there was a family of 10 watching a movie together," said Wang.
Box office sales in Sichuan totaled more than 312 million yuan during the holiday, up 68.6 percent year on year, according to the Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television bureau of Sichuan.
Domestic film "Monster Hunt 2" and "Detective Chinatown 2" led the province's film market by the end of the holiday, earning more than 100 million yuan each, while third place went to the anti-terrorism action film "Operation Red Sea," which earned about 66 million yuan.
Nationwide, China's box office sales totaled more than 5.72 billion yuan during the holiday, breaking the previous sales record for the period.
The figure also represented growth of 66.94 percent over the same period last year, according to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China.
"Chinese movies during this year's Spring Festival had a better online reputation than those in previous years. Good film quality and enthusiasm from consumers generated better box office receipts this year," said Xiang Huaquan, president of the Sichuan Emei Film Group, one of the producers of the action movie "Operation Red Sea."