In 2012, the market share for local films in China fell below 50%. That marks the first time in four years domestic pics have hit such a low and comes despite the eleventh-hour surge of homegrown road movie Lost In Thailand, which burned up the box office throughout December. Estimates released this week by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television say that Chinese box office is expected to be $2.7B total for 2012. Overall, that’s a 28% increase on 2011. But at $1.28B, the Chinese share of the pie is down to less than half from 54% last year as Hollywood pics increasingly squeeze out local competition. In November, a SARFT official said the February trade agreement to allow more Hollywood films to screen in China had “shaken” the local business. Still, the year’s top film is the low-budget Lost In Thailand, which broke several records when it debuted in early December. It has now become the highest-grossing domestic film ever in China and reportedly passed the 1B yuan ($160M) mark this week. China’s top-grossing import was the 3D re-issue of James Cameron’s Titanic.

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