‘Hornet’s’ Big China Hopes
Seth Rogen disappears from the overseas poster as Jay Chou takes front and center.
China could be the hero The Green Hornet is looking for. Sony certainly had Asian countries — particularly China — in mind when it tapped Jay Chou to star with Seth Rogen in the superhero actioner, which bowed Feb. 8 in China. Taiwan-born Chou is a huge recording and movie star among Mandarin-speaking audiences and is featured more prominently in Asian marketing than Rogen (European ads focus on co-star Cameron Diaz, who was all but invisible in U.S. efforts). Chou also helped Sony get the film into China, where the government imposes a strict quota on Western films. China box-office revenue hit $1.53 billion in 2010, a 64 percent jump over 2009. Those numbers were fueled by Avatar ($210 million) and Inception ($69 million), and observers say Hornet could pack a similar sting, opening on more than 3,000 screens. Sony hopes that China will provide a late boost to the film’s bottom line. Since opening in mid-January, Hornet has grossed $140 million worldwide — a good but not spectacular number.