LOS ANGELES -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Marvel Entertainment, LLC announced today that Marvel's Iron Man 3 grossed an estimated $1.54 million (￥9,710,312) at 101 IMAX® theatres in China during its first day, Wednesday, May 1. Combined with midnight screenings, the IMAX total box office in China for the film is now $1.8 million, shattering the previous opening-day record set by Titanic in 2012 by 52%.
The film opens across North America tonight at 9 p.m. local time.
Iron Man 3's strong first day in IMAX theatres in China also follows its record-breaking IMAX openings last weekend in Brazil, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Netherlands and many other territories. The film opened to $7.2 million in 113 IMAX theatres internationally and grossed a stunning $198.4 million overall, finishing No. 1 in all 42 territories in which it premiered.
"Hats off to Marvel and the Iron Man 3 filmmaking team for creating such a globally appealing film that fans are clearly seeking out in the IMAX format, given our strong percentage of the overall box office," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Entertainment. "We can't wait to see it premiere in North America this weekend."
Thursday Update: Disney is confirming that Iron Man 3 broke every opening day record in China's box office. The official figure is currently $18,657,142 but it is expected rise to $21.5 million after all cinemas conclude their reporting.
Wednesday Update #2: According to reports on mtime.com, Iron Man 3 took in nearly $21 million (130 million RMB) on its first day in theaters. That shatters the record of $17.2 million (110 million RMB) set by Tranformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011. This all bodes very well for Iron Man 3. It's important to keep in mind that Dark of the Moon made $172.3 million in China during its entire run.
Wednesday Update: Sources tell BoxOffice that Iron Man 3 has set a new midnight show record in China with $2.1 million (13 million RMB) from approximately 2,500 shows at 1,100 locations with 300,000 admissions. The record previously belonged to Transformers: Dark of the Moon with around $1.9 million (12 million RMB). The same sources say that a $100 million cume is a lock for IM3, which means it would top the $91.4 million cume of The Avengers.
Reports out of China indicate that IM3 is playing well. Excitement for the film is palpable with plenty of sold-out shows and huge lines. Any Americans staying in China may not be able to follow scenes that were only included in the Chinese version because they are being shown in Mandarin without any English subtitles. (The no-subtitle footage lasts about 3 minutes.) Yet the China-only scenes are playing to attentive, appreciative moviegoers. Chinese star Fan Bingbing's cameo appearance is reportedly going over VERY well, so props to Disney and DMG for getting that right. One main problem is that many moviegoers are laughing at blatant product placement for Chinese items.
Philip Santellan and Emily Santellan contributed to this report.
So Young topped the Chinese box office last week with $22.6 million, bringing its cumulative total to $33 million. The film beat out the competition in a high-grossing week, as both G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods broke the $10 million mark. G.I. Joe scored $12.5 to bring its total to $49.1 million, benefitting from scant genre competition at the box office. That will likely change on May 1 with the premiere of Iron Man 3, a factor that might slow down the action-figure franchise. Seeking Mr. Right fell to fifth place last week, still grossing above the $1 million mark to take its China cume to $82.2 million.
Box Office Results for China. April 22-28, 2013.
Tai Chi Hero opened in seven screens in North America last weekend, grossing $12,624 for a per-screen average of $1,726. The film is the second part of a martial arts trilogy, directed by Stephen Fung. The north American release is being handled by We Go USA Entertainment. The film is currently screening in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii, Vancouver, and Toronto.
Django Unchained finally has a release date in China after officials pulled the film from release minutes into its first screenings earlier this month. Revisions to the film were reportedly approved by Quentin Tarantino, but they weren't enough to appease the gatekeepers of the world's second-largest film market. Sony now confirms that the film will begin its proper run in China on May 12. Tarantino's blaxploitation western has grossed $257.8 million overseas to date and has a $420.6 million global total. A strong performance in China could potentially lift the film to reach the $500 million global mark. The Chinese market offers no guarantees, however, as was the case with global blockbuster Skyfall. The James Bond film broke the $1 billion global mark but fell short of expectations in China with a $60 million gross. The new release date might impact the long-term projection of Iron Man 3, which recently announced a May 1 premiere date in China.