China Box Office: 'Wolverine' Claws Past 'Special ID' to Claim Top Spot

2:44 AM PST 10/22/2013 by Clifford Coonan
Ben Rothstein/Twentieth Century Fox
"The Wolverine"

The strong $18.17 million opening in China for the Twentieth Century Fox franchise helped push the studio's global ticket sales past $2 billion for the year.

The Wolverine clawed its way to the top of the Chinese box office charts this week, taking $18.17 million (111.2 million yuan) in its first week despite bowing weeks after it originally premiered in Hong Kong and other overseas markets.

The China haul helped to push Twentieth Century Fox International's global ticket sales for 2013 past the $2 billion mark. 

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The movie opened in July in most other markets. Normally, a late release in China means viewers will have already accessed the film via pirate DVDs and illegal downloads, hurting ticket sales.

However, the movie's spectacular action scenes and strong performance by Hugh Jackman seem to have successfully lured the local fanboy audiences into China's cinemas. Jackman came to China for the premiere and made a big splash in the local press.

There were 2.96 million admissions for the film in the first week.

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According to data from Beijing-based Entgroup, for the week of Oct. 14-20, Wolverine beat out Donnie Yen's Shenzhen-set cop movie Special ID, which took $10.9 million (66.52 million yuan), while Louis Leterrier's Now You See Me continued its respectable if unspectacular run, taking in another $7.95 million to bring its total to $17.91 million.

Love Will Tear Us Apart appeared to pick up pace during the week, taking in $6.36 million. The movie features martial arts specialist Feng Shaofeng and Ni Ni, best known internationally for her role in Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War.

Meanwhile, Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon continued to edge closer to the $100 million box office mark. The fantasy prequel took $5.92 million during the week, bringing its cumulative total in the first 23 days on release to $94.7 million.

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