China Box Office: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Has Biggest Hollywood Open of Year

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"
"X-Men: Days of Future Past"
 Twentieth Century Fox

The 20th Century Fox tentpole X-Men: Days of Future Past stormed the Chinese box office in its opening weekend, boosted by the movie’s Chinese star Fan Bingbing and a well-received visit by key cast.

The movie counted nearly 6.5 million admissions and 121,285 million screenings, making it the biggest Hollywood opening in China this year, according to data from Entgroup for the week to May 25.

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Internationally, X-Men: Days of Future Past took in $191 million in its opening weekend, putting its global total at a whopping $302 million -- the best debut of any X-Men film.

Yet again, part of the success of the movie in China can be attributed to the cast visiting the mainland to sell the movie. Hugh Jackman and Peter Dinklage were in Beijing on promotional duties.

Jackman, in particular, is enormously popular in China -- The Wolverine took $38 million last year, and his previous X-Men movies and other titles like Les Miserables and Australia were also shown here.

An undoubted positive factor is the inclusion of Fan as Blink, who can teleport herself and others. This has made a big impression in China.

The opening tally puts the film just ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which took $39.23 million in its opening three days in China. That title was boosted by holiday traffic, and X-Men should have a very good weekend coming up as Monday is the Dragon Boat Festival holiday. This will most likely propel it to fresh heights.

Chinese films are still the biggest winners this year. Hong Kong director Poi Soi Cheang's 3D fantasy epic The Monkey King racked up $64.35 million in its first four days in February, while the reality-show-inspired Dad, Where Are We Going? took $50.97 million over the same period.

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In second place in the box office charts was Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home, which took $19.88 million in its first full week to bring its cumulative total to $33.5 million, from 75,851 screenings with nearly 3.6 million admissions.

This is a big total for what is essentially arthouse fare, set against the controversial political backdrop of the turbulent Cultural Revolution period of the 1970s. The epic drama features Gong Li and Chen Daoming and also introduces newcomer Zhang Huiwen.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 passed $90 million, taking another $10.73 million in China for a cumulative total of $92.03 million after 22 days, from 125,781 screenings and 3.6 million admissions.

Behind that was The Great Hypnotist, which took $3.28 million for a cume of $43.59 million. A mystery thriller representing a new direction in genre films for China, The Great Hypnotist is the latest commercial success in the mainland for Taiwan-born director Leste Chen, who previously had a hit with his 2013 romantic comedy Say Yes. The movie stars Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand) and Hong Kong star Karen Mok.

Homegrown Chinese romantic comedy My Old Classmate was in fifth, notching up $2.33 million during the week for a total of $73.05 million after 31 days. Directed by Frant Guo, top local contender My Old Classmate stars Zhou Dongyu and Lin Gengxin as university classmates who fall in love but then drift apart.

That was followed by Chen Zhonghao’s romantic comedy Broadcasting Girl, which took $1.79 million its first six days, and U.S.-Korean animated feature The Outback, directed by Kyung Ho Lee, which took $480,000 for a total of $4.6 million.

In eighth place was the Jason Statham-starring Hummingbird, which took another $450,000 to bring its cume of $5.19 million after 17 days.

Rounding out the list were Impetuous Love in Action and To Love Somebody, which took $270,000 and $240,000, respectively.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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