Despite minimal buzz in the U.S., ‘Warcraft’ and ‘Return of Xander Cage’ were among the movies that found surprising success overseas.
China’s growing and diversifying film market have produced no shortage of box-office surprises. While the Star Wars saga remains a reasonably performing franchise in the Middle Kingdom (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story earned just $65.9 million there, compared with $531 million in North America), other titles that attracted minimal notice in U.S. cinemas have put up eye-popping numbers in China.
North America: $47 million
China: $221 million
Legendary Entertainment’s Duncan Jones-directed video game adaptation got a big marketing lift from the studio’s Chinese parent company, Dalian Wanda Group. Nostalgia and the enormous local popularity of the underlying property helped too.
North America: $27 million
China: $160 million
Perhaps not so “final” after all, the action-horror franchise’s fifth installment weathered seven minutes of cuts by China’s censors but still opened to a great $94 million, Hollywood’s biggest bow in China this year. Insiders attribute much of the film’s success to pent-up demand for the horror genre in China.
North America: $45 million
China: $164 million
With the casting coup of Donnie Yen and local heartthrob Kris Wu in key roles, the third Xander Cage movie did localization right. And Vin Diesel built on the record performance of Furious 7 to cement his position as one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars in China.
North America: $65 million
China: $97 million
With help from local marketing specialist and co-financier Leomus Pictures, Summit Entertainment set some of the heist sequel in the Chinese casino enclave of Macau and recruited Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou to the cast.
North America: $63 million
China: $88 million
Amblin Entertainment’s family drama may have been hurt in North America by a leaked video suggesting a dog was mistreated, but the film outstripped expectations in China, riding word-of-mouth and a resurgence in local pet ownership.