The Chinese box office has overtaken the USA for the first time ever

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When I do a Monday Box Office report, I always focus on the North American movie market. There’s a  good reason for that, because the USA has a move-watching public that can outgun any other market in a one on one fight. The closest contender to pure box office numbers to the mighty US of A, usually comes from China. And for the first time in history, Chinese audiences have dropped more coin at the box office than the US.

Dragon Blade

According to THR, Chinese residents spent a combined $650 million on films, way above the US and their February total of $640 million, once Canada’s $70 million addition to that take was subtracted. Massive films such as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 helped China surge ahead, but those movies weren’t even in the top ten. Instead, the films that helped seal a win for China were:

  1. The Man From Macau II starring Chow Yun-Fat – $104 million (pictured above)
  2. Dragon Blade starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody – $95 million
  3. Wolf Totem directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud- $72 million
  4. Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal directed by Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu – $56 million
  5. Somewhere Only We Know directed by Xu Jinglei – $44 million

And in the US, the top five February films were:

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey – $147.8 million
  2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water – $140.3 million
  3. Kingsman: The Secret Service – $85.7 million
  4. Jupiter Ascending – $43.1 million
  5. McFarland, USA – $22 million

That’s a massively impressive victory, and proof that we’ll be seeing more of China in future movies as Hollywood makes an effort to appeal to that market. Just look at Iron Man 3 and Transformers 4 for example. Both films had plenty of China within them, with Iron Man 3 making over $121.2 million and Transformers 4 making a staggering $301 million on that side of the globe.

It’ll most likely be a while before the Chinese box office tops the USA again, but it certainly is a sign of things to come as Hollywood looks east.

Last Updated: March 4, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

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