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]
After Earth continued its strong run in China after its first full week in theatrical release. The M. Night Shyamalan father-son sci-fi flick took in $16.18 million over the week, raising its ten-day cumulative total to $30.36 million. It's a breath of fresh air for Sony; the studio is currently reeling from the North American box office blunders of After Earth and White House Down. The $30 million from China have boosted the overseas total for After Earth to $176.1 million and its global cume to $235.7 million. Every dollar will help Sony against a bigger write-off from this summer's costly North American flops. Ironically, the July 22 release of White House Down is likely to steal most of After Earth's thunder as it heads into its third weekend in China.
South Korea and China teamed up to co-produce Mr. GO, a 3D sports movie starring a baseball-playing gorilla. The high-concept movie stole the box office in South Korea and premiered in China with a strong $9.85 million cume in China. Bunshinsaba 2 was released earlier in the week and came out with a respectable $7.84 million total in its opening frame.
Two blockbusters are closing out their run in China as Tiny Times and Man of Steel falling to the bottom half of the week's top ten chart. The Superman reboot has grossed $63.44 million in China, about 18% of the film's $350.1 million overseas total. Tiny Times is opening in select theaters across North America this week through distributor China Lion. The Chinese hit is looking to add some overseas numbers of its own after grossing $77.6 million in its home country.
Top 10 Films in China (Weekly Estimates).
Data Courtesy of EntGroup.