China Box Office: Local Sensation 'Tiny Times 3.0' Knocks 'Transformers 4' Off Top Spot

Guo Jingming - P

Guo Jingming - P

The latest film in the tween franchise beat out "Transformers 4," which has crossed the $300 million box-office mark in the world's second-largest movie market.

In a strong week for homegrown films in China after weeks of Hollywood dominance, Tiny Times 3.0 took in $50.12 million in its opening four days in the world's second-largest movie market and led the box office ranking, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

The latest film in the tween franchise had 188,491 screenings and reached 9.76 million admissions, the data shows. The box-office revenue beat out Transformers: Age of Extinction, which continues to do well in China.

Based on Guo Jingming’s best-selling novels of the same name, Tiny Times 3.0 tells of the lives, loves and burgeoning careers of four girls from differing backgrounds, living in luxury dormitories and obsessing over branded products.

Guo has (presumably jokingly) promised to show nude pictures of stars Ko Chentung and Chen Xuedong if the movie makes more than $80 million, so the stars may need to get ready to bare all.

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The movie is co-produced by Huace Film Corporation and Heli Chenguang International Cultural Media Corporation, as well as LeTV, Dragon TV, Ruyi Xinxin Culture Development Corp and others.

The series has been described by the Xinhua news agency as being "like Sex and the City, without the sex."

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction chalked up a healthy $26.08 million to bring its cume to $306.28 million after 24 days, with 133,806 screenings and 3.83 million admissions, making it far and away China’s highest-grossing movie ever.

Meanwhile, in third place is Raymond Yip’s The House That Never Dies, a 3D ghost story about a haunted house on Chaoyangmen Inner Street in downtown Beijing which has supposedly been haunted since the Communist Revolution in 1949.

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The movie features Francis Ng, Ruby Lin, Tony Yang, Monica Mok, Amanda Qin and Li Jing, and it took $25.1 million in its opening weekend, clocking up 81,360 screenings and 4.37 million admissions.

Behind that in fourth place was Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, a sentimental tale of a hapless pair of amateur Chinese musicians called the Chopsticks Brothers, which began life as a 43-minute micro movie online in 2010 but after 75 million hits became a big-screen feature.

It took in $12.67 million in its first full week for a total gross of $29.59 million.

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Internet firms are getting heavily involved in the movie business in China right now, and movies like Old Boys are seen as a promising future model for the development of the Chinese movie industry, although the strong performance of Tiny Times 3.0 and The House That Never Dies shows there is still life left in the traditional feature model.

In fifth place was the domestic romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which took another $11.23 million for a cume of $103.9 million after 24 days. The movie is directed by Yu Baimei and Deng Chao and stars Deng and Yang Mi.

Seer V took another $2.82 million in its first full week for a gross of $9.18 million, while Happy Heroes 2 Qiyuan Planet Wars took $2.61 million in its first three days.

Roco Kingdom took another $2.10 million to bring its cume to $7.05 million, and Maleficent was only the second Hollywood movie still in the top 10, taking another $1.23 million to help its gross in China to $47.72 million.

The Chinese-Korean co-production Bunshinsaba 3 rounded out the top 10, adding another $850,000 to push its cume to $7.89 million after 17 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan