Man of Tai Chi is going big in China. The Chinese film is the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves and is the first Mandarin-language film to be helmed by a Western actor. Man of Tai Chi is slated for a July 5 release across IMAX theaters in China.
An official press release describes the film plot as an action-packed drama depicting the spiritual journey of a young martial artist as he struggles to maintain his traditional values and beliefs against the pressures of modern society. Targeted for his fighting skill, he is lured into the dark world of underground combat by menacing forces that seek to corrupt him with money, glamour and the promise of power.
"We're happy to be back in business with our longtime partner Keanu Reeves, an advocate of The IMAX Experience and a global star who has already proven to be very popular with our audiences," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Entertainment. "We look forward to working closely with Keanu and our good friends at Wanda, Village Road Show and China Film Group on this blockbuster title."
The deal includes the possibility for international expansion of the film in the IMAX format.
Man of Steel took the Chinese box office by storm, taking in $25.93 million in four days to become the week's top film. The superhero film was poised to perform in China after in-person appearances by director Zach Snyder and star Henry Cavill at the film's Chinese premiere led a press push in the days before its release. Warner Bros. is going into the next couple of weeks with a distinct advantage as Man of Steel is the only scheduled Hollywood release in China for the rest of the month.
The only significant competition that Man of Steel would face from Hollywood films in its first couple of weeks would have come from Star Trek Into Darkness. The sci-fi sequel has already grossed $56.29 million in China after nearly a month in release. China accounts for over 25% of the $213.4 million global gross of Star Trek Into Darkness. The film has been slowing down in its release recently, posing no real threat to Man of Steel. Star Trek Into Darkness it is still posting seven-figure weekly totals despite the heavy competition it has faced. The sci-fi film ranked in fourth place on the latest weekly chart with a $3.4 million tally.
The second place film on the chart came from the weekend release of the China/Hong Kong Jet Li vehicle Badges of Fury. The Jet Li action film took in a strong $14.98 million in its first three days. Action films have proven extremely popular in China this summer, with Badges of Fury taking over the role that Switch had occupied recently. Poor reviews and the Man of Steel premiere affected Switch as it entered its third week, dropping to a $5 million weekly take as it lost momentum to competing releases. Switch has grossed a total of $46.12 million in China.
Weekly Box Office Results for China.
A $25.5 million opening weekend for Man of Steel in China led the way for the film's $89 million weekend in the widest overseas expansion of its release. The strong numbers lifted the film to a $188.3 million overseas total, just shy of the $400 million milestone with a $398.3 worldwide total after two weeks in release. The film opened in around 5,631 screens in China and dominated the other releases, facing no new Hollywood openings in the market for the rest of the month. The Superman reboot took advantage of the attendance of star Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder at the film's Chinese premiere, boosting the film's four-day total at the top of China's weekly box office grosses chart.
In other China box office news, Sony announced a pending release date for After Earth in July. A Chinese release is vital for the troubled M. Night Shyamalan film to recoup some of its losses in North America. The exact date hasn't been confirmed yet, but Sony will be hoping for a bit of distance between the After Earth premiere and the Fast & Furious 6 release on July 26.
Check back with us later this week for a full report on the Chinese box office.
Bad reviews didn't hurt Switch at the Chinese box office. The Hong Kong action thriller reported a massively successful single-day premiere gross of $8.01 million last week. It was enough to launch the film into third place in last week's weekly grosses chart, just shy of Chinese film American Dreams in China's $8.27 million seven-day gross. Switch kept its momentum in its first full week in release, posting a $32.84 million weekend take to reach a total of $41.04 million in China. American Dreams in China carried over to gross $6.75 million this week, taking its domestic total to $84.24 million.
Switch was miles ahead of the second place film, Star Trek Into Darkness. The sci-fi sequel held its own over its third week in release, adding $14.07 million to reach a $52.89 million cume. China has played a major role in allowing Star Trek Into Darkness to shatter the overseas gross of the franchise's previous installment. The Star Trek sequel has grossed a cume of $201.7 million outside of North America, with the Chinese box office representing around 25% of that figure.
Weekly Box Office Results for China.
China will be the guest country at next year's India International Film Festival at Goa, according to a report from the Times of India.
The invitation comes on the heels of the success of Bollywood film 3 Idiots in China, a promising sign for the Indian film industry. China has steadily risen to become the second most important film market in the world. Indian films will hope to have an easier time to get past China's strict import quota for foreign films.
The closer ties will reportedly begin at the educational level, with the Film and Television Institute of India and the Beijing Film Academy agreeing to promote an exchange program for their students. A source for the Times of India, however, indicated that in short term China will be looking to screen more classical Bollywood films than more recent productions. The goal in this collaboration would be for relaxed restrictions for Indian films in regards to China's import quotas.
Indian Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari met with Cai Fuchao, the director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, to hold talks over closer collaboration between the countries' film industries. A presence in China would come as a great boost for the Indian film industry, which already has a healthy presence in other major film markets like the United Kingdom and North America.