China Box Office: 'Transformers 4' Heading Toward $300 Million

Paramount Pictures
"Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Already the highest-grossing film ever in the country, Michael Bay's blockbuster pulled in another $56 million over the past week for a current cume of $280 million.

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction further cemented its position as China’s biggest grossing movie ever, taking another $56.36 million to bring its total in the country to $279.75 million after 17 days. According to current projections, the film will soon become the first ever to gross $300 million in China.

Michael Bay’s robot action movie, which incorporated strong Chinese elements to win over fans in the world’s second-biggest film market, clocked up another 240,614 screenings with 8.3 million admissions.

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It has now earned over $50 million more than James Cameron’s Avatar, not accounting for inflation and currency fluctuations, according to data for the week to July 13 from the research group Entgroup.

The movie features local stars Li Bingbing and Han Geng, as well as product placement for everything from Chinese milk drinks and PCs to energy drinks and authoritarian styles of government.

U.S.-based Jiaflix and the China Movie Channel (CCTV6), with its new media subsidiary M1905, are the production and promotion partners of the film. China Film Group is the sole import company in China.

Holding on in second place in China was the domestic romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which took a solid $26.76 million to hit a cume of $92.46 million after 17 days.

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Directed by Yu Baimei and Deng Chao and starring Deng and Yang Mi, the movie’s performance is all the more impressive given the blanket coverage Transformers: Age of Extinction received in the multiplexes.

In third 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 $16.74 million in its opening four days, with 96,168 screenings and 3.35 million admissions.

Internet firms are getting heavily involved in the movie business in China right now, and the country’s tech and entertainment industries are rapidly converging. Movies like Old Boys are seen as a promising future template for the development of the Chinese movie industry.

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Seer V took $6.28 million in its opening four days, while Roco Kingdom took $4.89 million in the same period.

The Chinese-Korean co-production Bunshinsaba 3 took another $3.38 million to bring its cume to $7.01 million after 10 days.

In seventh place was Maleficent, which took another $2.96 million to bring its cume in China to $46.46 million after 24 days.

Still selling tickets in eighth place was American Hustle, which opened months after its U.S. release but grossed another $1.36 million to bring its China cume to $2.81 million after 10 days.

In ninth place was The Company You Keep, which grossed $400,000, followed by A Noble Spirit, which took $310,000 for a gross cume of $1.06 million.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan