Hollywood’s China Box-Office Shocking Numbers

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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.

WARCRAFT

Warcraft

2015

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.

milla-jovovich-resident-evil
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

2017

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.

xXx 3
xXx: Return of Xander Cage

2017

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.

now you see me 2
Now You See Me 2

2016

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.

A Dog's Purpose
A Dog’s Purpose

2017

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.

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