China only allows 34 foreign films to shine on its silver screens each year. In a sign that the country is growing more accommodating, that number was 20 five years ago.
But with still so few places available, and the potential payouts of the world’s largest audience so great, screen time in China is highly coveted by blockbuster producers. Just this week former Paramount production chief Adam Goodman told the Wall Street Journal, “We never thought of China 10 years ago. Now, we’re at a point where Hollywood can’t exist without China.”
You might have noticed this dependence demonstrated by an increased number of Chinese characters or products in Hollywood action hits lately, as the studios pander towards the market. Or in some cases, such as Iron Man 3, you might not have noticed at all, because the scene where Chinese doctors save Tony Stark’s life was included especially for the Chinese release of the film.
So for all the effort that goes into that potential payoff, which foreign films have seen the most success in China? As Fast & Furious 8 rapidly rises through the ranks – it took Rmb1.3 billion in its first weekend – here we compile the top 10 grossing Hollywood movies (pre-F&F8) at the China box office.
Fast & Furious 7
Rmb2.426 billion ($350 million)
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Rmb1.979 billion ($290 million)
Rmb1.53 billion ($220 million)
Rmb 1.472 billion ($214 million)
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Rmb1.465 billion ($212 million)
Rmb1.42 billion ($206 million)
Rmb1.382 billion ($200 million)
Captain America: Civil War
Rmb1.246 billion ($180 million)
Kong: Skull Island
Rmb1.151 billion ($170 million)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Rmb1.128 billion ($160 million)
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