Tuesday Update: Revised numbers from Entgroup indicate that Fast 6 has taken in a whopping $34 million from Friday-Monday in China. A source in China tells BoxOffice the figure is significantly higher than originally estimated due to a delay in reported grosses from one of the country's top theater chains.
Sunday Update #2: Official word from Universal is estimating the final weekend tally for Fast 6 to close out at $24 million. It marks the second highest opening of the year for a Hollywood film in China behind Iron Man 3. China is the last territory in the theatrical run of Fast 6. The market is responsible for helping the film cross the half-billion overseas mark and reach a global cume that currently stands at $741.1 million.
Sunday Update: A slower Saturday increase than expected has Fast 6 looking at a $25 million opening weekend in China. Early estimates suggested the action flick could reach the $29 million mark after posting Universal's biggest opening day in the market. A modest increase over Saturday, however, is revising that figure to the $25 million range.
Sources also tell BoxOffice that White House Down will finish its seven-day opening week run in China at an estimated $19 million, a welcome tally for the troubled Sony release. The studio has also benefited from the Chinese market to boost the overseas performance of After Earth, which is expected to finish third weekend in China with a $33.2 million cume
Saturday Update: Sources tell BoxOffice that Fast & Furious 6 managed roughly $7.9 million (48.5 million yuan) on its first day of release in China. That puts F&F6 behind only Iron Man 3's opening day haul of $20 million (121 million yuan) on the list of 2013's best opening days for Hollywood films in China. F&F 6's opening day is also the strongest Universal has ever had in the Middle Kingdom, easily topping the $3 million (18.5 million yuan) opening day of 2012's Battleship. Projections indicate that F&F 6 could end up with $29.4 million (180 million yuan) after 3 days of release in China.
F&F 6's first day ranks 5th overall this year behind Iron Man 3, Journey to the West, Tiny Times and The Switch.
Wednesday Update: If Fast & Furious 6's theatrical run were to end today, its $712.8 million global haul would still be viewed as a massive success.
But Fast & Furious 6's run is not over yet. Far from it. Universal's juggernaut will open in China, the world's second-largest theatrical market, on July 26. This release will be particularly important for Universal following the confusing rejection of Despicable Me 2 by government officials in China.
Sources tell BoxOffice that Fast & Furious 6 could end up with $70 million in China even though rampant piracy--a problem that also hurt such blockbusters as Inception and Skyfall--is likely to hinder the film slightly. A $70 million haul in China would help Fast & Furious 6 hit $800 million globally, and it would also mark a sizable improvement over 2011's Fast Five's $40.5 million haul in the Middle Kingdom.
A wild card for Fast & Furious 6 comes in the form of co-star Dwayne Johnson. Johnson has quite the following in China. 2012's Journey 2: The Mysterious Island roped in a healthy $59 million there, while earlier this year G.I. Joe: Retaliation posted a strong $54 million take.
The global growth from Fast Five to Fast & Furious 6 is staggering. Fast Five revived the property by taking in $628.6 million, and now Fast 6 is running 14.2 percent ahead of it. Universal may not have a superhero franchise like Warner Bros. or Disney, but they've effectively turned the Fast and Furious films into something just as strong. The question now is whether or not Fast 7 can join the club of films that have grossed $1 billion worldwide. We certainly aren't ruling that out.
Logan Krum contributed to this article.
Sources tell BoxOffice that White House Down has grossed an estimated $10.5 million after three days of release in China. That's a healthy start for the action flick, but it will soon face tough competition from Fast & Furious 6 (opening July 26) and Pacific Rim (opening July 31). Chinese officials have once again decided to bunch together Hollywood flicks in a short period time. Many pundits conclude that the tactic is designed to hinder American films and ensure the success of Chinese efforts. If that's the case, it's working. Chinese films account for more than 60% of the total box office in 2013.
Official numbers will be released earlier next week.
NEW YORK and BEIJING -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Wanda Cinema Line Corporation, Asia's largest cinema owner, today announced an amendment to the parties' original 2011 joint revenue share agreement with the addition of a minimum of 40 and up to 120 new IMAX® theatres to be located throughout China. The deal also extends Wanda's lease terms for all new theatres to 12 years from 10 years and brings Wanda's total IMAX commitment in China to up to 210 theaters, positioning Wanda Cinema Line as IMAX's largest international exhibition partner.
In addition, IMAX and AMC Theatres, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wanda Group, signed an agreement to extend AMC's lease terms for all new and existing theatres to 13 years from 10 years and install a minimum of five and up to 10 new IMAX theatres in the U.S. Today's agreement brings AMC's total IMAX commitment to up to 152 theatres, making them the largest IMAX exhibition partner in North America.
"We have developed great partnerships with Wanda and AMC during the last decade and we're excited that the combination of two of our strongest partners has allowed us to advance our relationships to the next level," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "The Wanda and AMC IMAX network continues to flourish and today's agreement underscores their ongoing confidence in IMAX to strengthen their businesses by delivering to audiences the industry's best cinematic experience."
Wanda Cinema Line was one of IMAX's first exhibition partners in China, opening a theatre in Dongguan in 2007. Building on the success of its existing IMAX theatres, the parties signed a 75-theatre joint venture agreement in 2011 that represented IMAX's first full revenue-sharing deal in China. In 2012, Wanda Group acquired AMC Theatres, IMAX's first and largest North American commercial exhibition partner, creating the world's largest cinema owner as well as the largest operator of IMAX theatres.
"Our IMAX theatres have been showing strong performance while Wanda Cinema Line is constantly developing. We're delighted to build on our successful partnership that continues to differentiate our cineplex by offering a premium entertainment experience," said Jerry Ye, Vice President of Wanda Cultural Group, a subsidiary of Wanda Group.
"Week after week, AMC guests are choosing to see their Hollywood blockbusters in an IMAX auditorium," said Gerry Lopez, CEO and President of AMC. "As AMC continues to deliver the premiere experience in moviegoing, expanding our partnership with IMAX fits in perfectly with our strategy to provide the best options to even more of our guests."
"Wanda and AMC are two of the best IMAX theatre operators in the world," said Gelfond. "Their commitment to quality, innovation and building the IMAX brand means that we're not just adding more theatres, we're delivering IMAX audiences top-notch theatres with strong operations that help to differentiate The IMAX Experience®."
Under the terms of the agreement with Wanda Cinema Line, 80 of the potential 120 IMAX theatres are predicated on the successful development of IMAX's next-generation laser projection system. Upon Wanda Cinema Line's commitment to the 80 additional IMAX theatres, the lease terms for all Wanda IMAX theatres - including their existing theatres - will convert to 12 years. In addition, they may elect to install IMAX's laser projection in a portion of all Wanda IMAX theatres, making them the first exhibitor to bring IMAX's groundbreaking laser technology to Asia.
With today's agreement, there are now up to 381 IMAX theatres open or contracted to open in China.
The next two months will see several Chinese films releasing to North American cinemas. [Film Business Asia]
Hollywood skeptical of China's relaxed censorship rules. [Hollywood Reporter]
Tiny Times director Guo Jingming defends film, says it depicts New China culture. [Variety]
Interview with Hong Kong director Johnnie To about upcoming North American release Drug War. [Twitch]
Grandmaster director Wong Kar-wai and cast advertise film, coming to U.S. next month. [China Daily]
Weinstein and Celestial companies are teaming up to remake two Shaw Brothers martial arts films for English release. [Film Business Asia]
Despicable Me 2 banned from Chinese theaters. [Hollywood Reporter]
Nobel prize-winning author Mo Yan approves first film adaption in a decade. [China Daily]