The Huayi Brothers production company came to an agreement with 30 theater chains this weekend regarding director Feng Xiaogang's Back to 1942. The company had been in a dispute with the chains over the appropriation of box office revenue shares for the film.
As part of the new agreement, Huayi will claim 43 percent of box office receipts while theater chains will claim 57 percent if the gross is less than 300 million yuan ($47 million). Should the gross exceed 300 million yuan, theater chains will have the right to a 55 percent share and the remainder will go to Huayi.
In a rare move, Chinese studio Bona Film Group has secured a $20 million credit line through East West Bank in an effort to finance Chinese films with money borrowed from the United States. East West Bank has a history of lending to individual Chinese productions in the past, however, this marks the first time they have provided a loan for multiple Chinese film productions.
A new study by Ernst & Young predicts that the Chinese box office will surpass the North American box office by the year 2020. According to the study, China's media and entertainment industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 17% in the five years leading to 2015.
That's not bad news for Hollywood considering that American films still dominate in China. It just means more global business. 6 of the top 10 all-time highest grossing films in China are from Hollywood: Avatar ($203.7 million), Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($172.2 million), Titanic 3D ($155.3 million), Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol ($102.5 million), Kung Fu Panda 2 ($95 million) and The Avengers ($91.4 million).
Back to 1942, the latest film from director Feng Xiaogang (If You Are The One 2), shines a light on an overlooked part of Chinese history: a famine in 1942 that led to the death of 7 million people.
With a $34 million budget and a cast that includes Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins, expectations are high for Back to 1942. The drama will not have to open at the same time as any American films, but it will face tough competition from the current #1 film in China: Life of Pi.
Back to 1942 opens in China on November 29 and in North America on November 30.
After spending two weeks in first place, Hong Kong's Cold War has been toppled by two American films: Life of Pi and 2012 3D.
Life of Pi grabbed the top spot with $16.1 million. Ang Lee's latest is also of to a good start in Taiwan with $2.3 million and Hong Kong with $1.4 million.
After the success of Titanic 3D earlier this year, China asked for more 3D flicks. The result: 2012 3D, a converted version of Roland Emmerich's disaster film. 2012 3D debuted to a healthy $14.3 million this week. The converted version has not been released in North America.
Cold War dropped to third place this weekend with $7.6 million for a Chinese total of $36.7 million. The drama has earned $4.4 million in Hong Kong.
Wreck-It Ralph finished in fourth with $1.3 million for a total of $9.7 million. The Disney release is coming up short compared to other recent animated films such as Kung Fu Panda 2 ($95 million), Ice Age: Continental Drift ($73 million) and The Smurfs ($41.2 million).
Rise of the Guardians is also a disappointment. The holiday-themed flick rounded out the top five with $1.1 million for a total of $4 million.