China Box Office: 'Gone With the Bullets' Advance Ticket Sales Top 'Transformers 4'

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Jiang Wen

"We always hope we can make a movie that will beat America," says director Jiang Wen

Chinese director Jiang Wen's upcoming 3D epic Gone With the Bullets, a sequel to 2010's wildly successful Let the Bullets Fly, has already reached more than $19.5 million in advance ticket sales weeks before its theatrical release.

The Imax presale for its midnight bow in China on Dec. 18 has surpassed the result for the year's current box-office leader Transformers: Age of Extinction, producers told a news conference in Beijing on Monday. The latest Transformers film also became the first film ever to cross the $300 million mark in China. Let the Bullets Fly made $117.5 million back in 2010.

Read more 'Gone With the Bullets' Takes Aim at 'Transformers' China Record

Gone With the Bullets, which is set in Shanghai in the 1920s, is the follow-up, although not exactly a sequel to Let the Bullets Fly. The movie features Jiang himself, actresses Shu Qi and Zhou Yun, and actor Ge You.

In the movie, Ma Zouri, played by Jiang, and Xiang Feitian (Ge) start a beauty contest, which ends tragically. Jiang said competing with the big-budget blockbusters out of Hollywood was difficult, but Chinese movies did have their competitive strengths.

"We can always do things in 30 years where others may need 300 years," he said. "We always hope we can make a movie that will beat America." The press event was attended by Jiang and castmembers, including Shu, Zhou and pop star Na Ying.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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