China

Entire 'Star Wars' Saga Will Screen at Shanghai International Film Festival in June on May 25, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Walt Disney Pictures and the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival announced on Monday that the all 6 episodes of the Star Wars saga will screen during the film festival which runs from June 13 to June 21. This is the first time Episodes 4-6 have been shown on the big screen in China. 

Disney is clearly hoping to generate as much exposure and buzz as possible for Star Wars in China ahead of The Force Awakens release later this year. Episodes 1-3 were released theatrically in China to the tune of a modest $20 million combined, but that was years before China's box office took off and years before Hollywood started seeing the dollar signs associated with China's growing middle class.

Episode 7 doesn't have a China release date yet, and while a day-and-date global release on December 18 is a possibility, it's more than likely the film won't be released until January or February to protect the 50/50 split between year-end imported and foreign box office totals that the government unofficially tries to maintain. As an example, all three Hobbit films (which grossed a combined $250M in China) were given late January or early February release dates, pushed back from their December NA releases. 

We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out our coverage of The Force Awakens trailer premiere in China and 愿原力与你同在 - yuàn yuán lì yǔ nǐ tóng zài (May The Force Be With You).

China Box Office Weekend Actuals: 'Ultron' Hits $210M to Become 4th Highest Grossing Film of All-Time in China; Bollywood's 'PK' Surprises With Strong Debut on May 25, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Avengers: Age of Ultron once again claimed the box office title this weekend in China with $27.75M and leaped past three domestic pics on the top ten list of all-time highest grossing films. Ultron is now #4 with a 13-day total of $209.39M, behind Avatar ($216M), Transformers: Age of Extinction ($319M), and Furious 7 ($390.5M).

With three years of breakneck growth from the Chinese box office since the original Avengers grossed $91.36M in 2012, and a solid Marvel fan base thanks to Disney China's strong marketing, expectations for Ultron to smash box office records were sky high especially after Furious 7's record breaking run in April. Yet despite more than doubling the original's total haul, Ultron appears to be running out of gas after a steep 68% drop this weekend and will have to settle for third on the all-time list.

Word of mouth seems to have affected Ultron's legs, as rankings on Douban, Weibo, and Mtime are all a point or more below Furious 7 which dominated the box office for much of its month-long run.  Tomorrowland and I, Frankenstein, both opening on Tuesday, and Stand By Me Doraemon, opening on Thursday, will all steal screens from Ultron and further weaken its staying power next weekend. 

PK, Bollywood's highest grossing film of all-time worldwide, took second place with an impressive $5.13 million. On only its second day of release, PK surpassed Dhoom 3 as the top grossing Indian film ever to open in China, and strong word of mouth continued through the weekend, pushing the film's screening rate from 13% to 16% which further eroded Ultron's supremacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last week in China to discuss deepening cultural ties between their two nations so Chinese audiences can expect to see more Bollywood films in the future.

Date night flick Love Without Distance (土豪520) took advantage of its May 20th release date (a homophone for "I love you" in Mandarin) and embraced $2.66M for a four-day total of $3.55M. Chappie held decently in its third weekend, dropping 18% to claim $1.17M for a total of $16.38M. Rounding out the top 5, animated newcomer Alibaba and The Thief (阿里巴巴大盗奇兵) opened with $1.05M for a $2.3M cume after 2 weeks of advanced screenings. 

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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China Box Office Weekend Actuals: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Steamrolls Competition on 1st Weekend of Release; Grabs $85M For 2nd Highest-Grossing Weekend of All-Time on May 18, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Avengers: Age of Ultron dominated the Chinese box office in its first weekend of release, scoring 92% of the market for a hefty $84.81 million. That helps bring the Disney/Marvel blockbuster's 6-day total to $154.09 million which is already good enough for the final spot on China's top ten highest-grossing films of all time and the 5th highest-grossing imported film ever behind Furious 7 ($391M), Transformers: Age of Extinction ($319M), Avatar ($216M), and Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($173M). Ultron Hulk-smashed the first Avengers' total of $91.4 million from 2012 in just five days, easily becoming China's top grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. China's IMAX screens also took in a record-setting $17.5 million this weekend (previous best was Transformers: Age of Extinction's $9.75 million).

The rest of the top ten only accounted for 8% of the weekend box office. In a distant second was last weekend's champ, Chappie which eked out $1.43 million on 5% of China's screens. Its 10-day cume is up to $13.72 million. Close behind in third place was romantic newcomer The Beloved with $1.39 million. DreamWorks Animation's Home brought in $1.07 million for a 24-day total of $26.73 million to take fourth place, and rounding out the top 5 was Silent Separation, just breaking the million dollar mark for a $55.29 million 18-day cume. 

The rest of the top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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SATURDAY UPDATE China Box Office: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Scores 2nd Highest Opening Day of All-Time with $33.9 Million; Five-Day Estimate at $128.5 Million on May 12, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

SATURDAY UPDATE

Chinese moviegoers showed up in full force on Ultron's first Saturday of release, adding an estimated $36.81 million for a 5-day estimated cume of $128.54 million according to China's EntGroup. Saturday's total bested the film's opening day and became China's second highest-grossing day ever behind Furious 7's opening day.

FRIDAY UPDATE

Ultron bounced back slightly on Friday according to estimates following a slide since its opening on Tuesday. EntGroup China is reporting $21 million for a 4-day cume of $90 million heading into the weekend. The film played on about 60% of China's screens, 5% less than it did from Tuesday to Thursday as a result of local pics The Beloved, 12 Citizens, and Mr. Deng Goes To Washington opening on Friday.  

THURSDAY UPDATE

Thursday estimates from EntGroup China show Ultron dipping another 25% for an estimated $15 million and a $69.31 million 3-day cume. 

WEDNESDAY UPDATE

Disney is reporting that Ultron grossed $33.9 million on its opening Tuesday, more than double Iron Man 3's debut and more than the 2-day opening of The Avengers in 2012. 

EntGroup China estimates Ultron fell 42% on Wednesday for $19.87 million and a two-day total of $54.03 million. That's a steep drop for a second day (Furious 7 maintained higher single day grosses throughout its entire first week), but this also may indicate more casual fans of the Marvel franchise will wait until the weekend to view the film. That said, Ultron has a 7.7 rating on Mtime, a 7.4 rating on Douban, and a 7.9 rating on Weibo, while Furious 7 scored 8.3, 8.4, and 8.8 respectively so word of mouth won't be as strong going into the weekend.

TUESDAY UPDATE

Early estimates for Avengers: Age of Ultron are trickling in from EntGroup China, and the Disney/Marvel blockbuster sequel has scored an estimated $32.48 million on its opening Tuesday, including an estimated $4.7 million from midnight screenings. That's good enough for China's second highest opening day in history behind Furious 7's $55.74 million debut from Sunday, April 12. Ultron grabbed nearly 95% of the market on 63% of China's screens. 

Stay tuned for more updates throughout Ultron's opening week.

China Box Office Weekend Actuals: 'Chappie' Outpaces 'Furious 7' on Final Lap Ahead of Massive 'Ultron‘ Release on May 11, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Furious 7's incredible run in China is finally hitting the checkered flag. Through Sunday May 10, the film's 29th and penultimate day of release (imported films are given 30-day licenses which are nearly impossible to extend), Furious has amassed $388.59 million from the Middle Kingdom alone and has broken nearly every single box office record since opening April 12. Its final lap of $9.54 million this weekend was good enough for second, narrowly outpaced by newcomer Chappie which grossed $10.39 million. Chappie has only a small window of 4 days to perform before it's squeezed out by the next major Hollywood blockbuster, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opens on Tuesday. China's EntGroup is showing that nearly 80% of China's screens will play Ultron on Tuesday, while Chappie gets only 6.5%.

In third and fourth this weekend were 2 youthful romance pics: Silent Separation (何以笙萧默) grabbed $6.11 million in its sophomore frame for a $52.27 cume, while Alec Su's The Left Ear (左耳) picked up an additional $4.36 million bringing its 17-day total to an impressive $74.61 million. Rounding out the top 5 was HK action flick Helios (赤道) with $4.28 million. Hong Kong productions continue to perform poorly on the Mainland; Helios' 11-day stand is $31.80 million.

The rest of the top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup:

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