'Spider-Man 2' Goes to China: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx Sweep Into Beijing

Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield in Beijing

The Chinese capital is now viewed as a vital PR stop for Hollywood blockbusters, as Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans visited Monday, and Johnny Depp is slated to arrive next week.

Looking to drum up buzz in the world's second largest movie market, the cast of the The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swept into Beijing Wednesday for a flurry of promo activities.  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, director Marc Webb and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach were all in town for the event. Team Spider-Man gave a joint press conference in a luxury hotel downtown, which was broadcast live to eight Chinese cities.

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Later in the day, the cast joined a 30-minute 3D preview screening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was attended by 200 influential local bloggers, who were invited to live-tweet the event for their legions of followers across the country. China has the world's largest Internet market with 591 million users.

Garfield and Stone were spotted riding bicycles around the Forbidden City in the afternoon, part of a promotional exercise for the Earth Hour environmental initiative. According to Sony China, which arranged the visit, Garfield later asked to drop in unannounced at a local ping-pong hall to play a few games and interact with locals. 

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul were once Asia's top destinations for Hollywood promotional tours, but with the booming growth in China's movie market, a stop in Beijing is starting to be seen as a vital part of any Hollywood tentpole's global PR agenda.

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Robert Downey Jr. celebrated his birthday at an event inside the historic Forbidden City in central Beijing last year to promote Iron Man 3, and Tom Hiddleston was in the city in October ahead of the local release of Thor: The Dark World. On Monday, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans visited a swanky shopping center in downtown Beijing to plug Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Johnny Depp will be the next big star to delight Chinese fans. The actor is slated to arrive in Beijing on March 31 for a two-day press blitz supporting sci-fi thriller Transcendence. His visit is being arranged by Beijing-based studio DMG, co-producers of the film with Alcon Entertainment.  

China is now well ahead of Japan as the second largest movie market, and the local box office total is expected to grow to $4.6 billion this year. In February alone, box office reached $520 million, about the same as the country's full year total as recently as 2007. Many predict Chinese box office will surpass North American within five years.