Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (Stephen Chow), $205 Million
Hong Kong comedy actor-director Stephen Chow first established a cult following in mainland China with his 1990s adaptations of the same classic Chinese novel that serves as the basis of Journey to the West. Those popular early efforts -- the A Chinese Odyssey series -- are nothing compared to Journey in financial terms though. Even though Chow doesn't appear in this effort, Journey passed the 1-billion yuan threshold ($160 million) in China in just 16 days, four fewer than last year's big hit Lost in Thailand took to reach that milestone -- which serves as something of a marker for definitive blockbuster status in China.
Ironman 3 (Shane Black), $124.06 Million
The Disney-DMG movie didn't get formal co-production status in China -- which confers better financial terms for the Hollywood partner -- but nonetheless there was a heavy Chinese element to Iron Man 3 as it appeared in China, with special scenes added to the local release, featuring Chinese actors Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi. The film's star, Robert Downey Jr., also took part in a major marketing event held in the Beijing's Forbidden City on his 48th birthday.
So Young (Vicky Zhao), $118.14 Million
Actress Zhao Wei, aka Vicky Zhao's, directorial debut, this drama stormed the box office charts with its nostagic reading of college life in the 1990s. Part autobiography, partly based on the novel To Our Youth That is Fading Away by Xin Yiwu infused with a dose of British rock band Suede's "So Young," Zhao dedicated it to those who grew up in mainland China during the 1990s.
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro), $114.32 Million
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim made more more money in China than it did in the U.S., as the Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures machines-versus-monsters tentpole took $114.32 million in China, compared to just over $100 million stateside.
Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Tsui Hark), $98.77 Million
A prequel to Tsui Hark's 2010 Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which featured mega-star Andy Lau, the Huayi Brothers' production Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon saw Taiwanese-Canadian actor Mark Chao take over in the Detective Dee role. Feng Shaofeng plays Justice Department Chief Minister Yuchi, with Angelababy, Lin Gengxin, Carina Lau and South Korea's Kim Bum in his Chinese debut.
American Dreams in China (Peter Chan), $88.57 Million
A comedy drama seen as a Chinese version of The Social Network, American Dreams in China stars Huang Xiaoming, Deng Chao, Tong Dawei and supermodel Du Juan. The movie picked up a number of awards, including several wins the local Golden Rooster Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
Finding Mr Right, (Xue Xiaolu), $85.38 Million
On a budget of just $5 million, and produced by Bill Kong, Mathew Tang and Lu Hongshi, the huge haul of this film came as a real surprise. With elements of Sleepless in Seattle, the movie stars Tang Wei, best known outside China for her role in Ang Lee's steamy erotic thriller Lust, Caution, and tells of a city girl who is pure New China, a rich man's mistress obsessed with money and material wealth, who comes to Seattle to have her lover's baby.
Tiny Times (Guo Jingming), $79.12 Million
Tiny Times, is the tale of four wealthy Chinese girls, created by Guo Jingming from his novel of the same name. This Shanghai-set series is a story of the love lives and burgeoning careers of the four girls, who come from different backgrounds but share a fondness for Hermes and Louis Vuitton. The films' ostentatious displays of luxury were criticized as shallow by critics, for distorting young people's values, but scored highly with those born after 1980.
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón), $71.17 Million
Gravity benefited strongly from the Chinese love of 3D and Imax. It was pitted head to head with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at the Chinese box office as the two Hollywood epics opened almost simultaneously, but it grossed inearly three times as much, largely because it had double the number of screenings. It's average ticket price of $6.70 was also higher than the Hunger Games sequel's $5.20.
Fast & Furious 6 (Justin Lin), $68.03 Million
The Vin Diesel-driven franchise Fast & Furious 6 is a fine example of how Chinese audiences will still go to see a movie even weeks after it has opened elsewhere, as the whole experience of going to the theater has become part of China's social fabric. Chinese viewers may have seen the movie on pirate DVD or downloaded already, as it opened months after its U.S. premiere, but they were also happy to watch again for that theater buzz. The country's burgeoning car culture has also helped make the franchise a sure hit.