China Box Office: 'The Revenant' Roars to Strong $33M Debut; 'Zootopia' Makes History

The Revenant still 1 Leonardo DiCaprio  - H 2015
'The Revenant,' Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The film's strong opening in the Middle Kindgom — where Leonardo DiCaprio is a huge star — is a big win for New Regency, which only had to cut 90 seconds or less to clear Chinese censors; elsewhere, 'Zootopia' becomes the top-grossing animated film of all time.

Alejandro G. Inarritu's tough frontier epic The Revenant is making headlines in China, opening to a strong $33 million over the weekend in a testament to Leonardo DiCaprio's enduring popularity in the Middle Kingdom.

"It's fantastic. It speaks to Leo's star power and I think the expansion of the marketplace in China," New Regency president-CEO Brad Weston told The Hollywood Reporter.

New Regency announced the China release date following the movie's Academy Award wins last month in the best actor, director and cinematography categories. New Regency arranged the China rollout itself, partnering with Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture.

Fox released The Revenant everywhere else on behalf of New Regency.

Thanks to the late run in China, where the pic played in regular theaters and Imax locations, The Revenant is now assured of crossing the $500 million mark worldwide, a big win for New Regency. Through Sunday, it has earned $483.2 million globally, including $181.2 million in North America (it has yet to open in Japan).

International Weekend 3/20/16

Comscore for Weekend of 3/20/16
Weekend Cume
1. Zootopia $64.8M $389.9M
2. The Revenant $36.4M $302.0M
3. Kung Fu Panda 3 $31.8M $257.0M
4. Allegiant $22.0M $53.4M
5. London Has Fallen $10.0M $45.0M
6. Gods of Egypt $6.2M $98.7M
7. Deadpool $6.1M $389.7M
8. Kapoor & Sons $5.9M $5.9M
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane $5.0M $7.2M
10. The Brothers Grimsby $2.6M $16.7M

Beloved in China, DiCaprio — who attended the movie's official premiere there on Sunday — has been fondly known as Xiao Li, or "Little Leo," since 1997's Titanic

Less than 90 seconds were cut from the film in order to gain clearance from Chinese censors.

Elsewhere in China over the weekend, Disney Animation Studio's Zootopia overtook Kung Fu Panda 3 ($152 million) to become the top-grossing animated film of all time in the Middle Kingdom with $174 million-plus.