A great week for Hollywood in China finished with two new releases crossing the $20 million mark. Escape Plan opened on Monday and came into the weekend with a $13.8 million head start. The four-day gross of the Stallone/Schwarzenegger vehicle is almost twice as much as the $7.57 million Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand has grossed in its 18 days in the market. Escape Plan added another $7 million over the weekend to finish its first week in China with a $20.81 million take.
Thor: The Dark World was the top film in China after a $20.98 million opening weekend. The Thor sequel dominated the market, overshadowing fellow weekend openers Love You for Loving Me ($1.7M) and Love Speaks ($1.58M). Hotel Transylvania improved to $9.3 million after its first full week in release, finishing the week in third place with a $3.5 million take.
Last week's top film, the Russian WWII epic Stalingrad, took a sizable hit down to fifth place with a $2.7 million take in its first full week of release. The film has grossed $11 million in China over 11 days in the market.
The Wolverine is slowing down its pace as it nears its first full month in the market. The Hugh Jackman superhero spin-off sequel ranked seventh in the weekly chart with an $820K tally that brings its Chinese cume up to $40.57 million.
Top Ten Films in China:
CULVER CITY & BEIJING -- Columbia Pictures announced principal photography has commenced on Jiang Wen's 3D feature film "Gone With The Bullets," through his production company with Ma Ke, Buyilehu. This is the highly anticipated second film in the Bullets Trilogy that began with the 2010 hit feature "Let The Bullets Fly" ("Rang zidan fei"), which Jiang directed. The first feature was one of the highest grossing domestic Chinese releases in recent years, grossing over US$140 million at the worldwide box office, including RMB 720m in China. "Gone with the Bullets" will be distributed in China by Buyilehu, and internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI).
"Gone with the Bullets" started production on October 2, 2013 on location in Beijing at the China Film Group studio in Huairou, and will film in Shanghai, Fujian and Inner Mongolia as well. Jiang will star in the film opposite Ge You ("Personal Tailor," "Sacrifice"), Zhou Yun ("Let The Bullets Fly," "Bodyguard and Assassins"), Shu Qi ("China Zodiac," "Love"), and Wen Zhang ("Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons"). Keith Young is the choreographer, and Pixomondo ("Hugo") is handling the visual effects.
"Gone with the Bullets," set in 1920s Shanghai, is based on a true story. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the "Flowers Competition." All of the city's elite attend this gala event, but when Wanyan Ying unexpectedly wins, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies.
Internationally acclaimed director Jiang Wen's previous feature "Devils on the Doorstep" ("Guizi lai le") was honored with the Grand Prize at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival and was also nominated for the Palme D'Or. Jiang is also familiar to international audiences for his acting role in Zhang Yimou's 1987 feature "Red Sorghum." Jiang's previous directorial credits include a segment in "New York, I Love You," as well as the films "The Sun Also Rises" ("Tai yang zhao chang sheng qi") and "In The Heat Of The Sun" ("Yangguang Canlan de Rizi").
Commenting on the local language production, Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures said, "We're thrilled to be partnering with Jiang Wen on this film. As both an actor and a filmmaker, Jiang is well respected in China and around the world, and we think audiences will respond to ‘Gone with the Bullets' just as strongly as they did to ‘Let the Bullets Fly.'"
The film is expected to be released in December 2014.
It only took three days for Thor: The Dark World to surpass the lifetime gross of the original. The film took a $19.6 million bow in China to dethrone Russia's Stalingrad atop the box office. IMAX represented $3 million worth of business for the superhero sequel. The big debut presented a threat to the release of Escape Plan in the market, but the action vehicle was able to receive a Monday release date and earn $13 million from Monday-Thursday before Marvel's latest hit Chinese theaters. Escape Plan is currently up to $22.8 million in China, which is very close to the $23.2 million haul in North America.
Check back tomorrow for a full report on the top ten movies in China.
Canada and Hollywood face-off for Chinese animated market. [Wall Street Journal]
MPAA bridges ties with China through week-long event. [LA Times]
Domestic films thrive in China. [China Daily]
Chinese box office expected to pass $3.6B this year. [The Wrap]
Xue Xiaolu, director of Finding Mr. Right, enjoying success from young audiences. [Variety]