China Slays North American Box Office In February: Take That, Deadpool!
For the second time in history, China has defeated the USA at the box office. And they did it without Deadpool, which totally made a killing in North America. China is set to pass “North America as the world’s largest film market in early 2017”, says Hollywood Reporter. Does this mean the cinematic landscape is about to shift? Will American studios start producing films with the Asian market in mind? With #OscarsSoWhite, will we see more impactful roles for Chinese, Korean, and Japanese actors?
Hollywood blockbusters like Transformers and Terminator: Genisys keep the Pacific box office in mind. Meanwhile, a movie like Pacific Rim, which underwhelmed States-side did incredibly well overseas, guaranteeing a sequel coming soon. Surprisingly, some highly anticipated films like Star Wars traditionally didn’t perform well in China. Force Awakens changed that, surpassing studio expectations. The landscape surely seems to be changing right in front of us.
Chinese theaters raked in over $1 billion (USD) in February. This staggering amount was a 50% increase over last year. To give more context, the earlier record monthly gross was broken by over $1 billion (yuan). To add to that, the US, with the help of smash hit Deadpool ($285 million), made just under $800 million. That’s right, China made $200 million more for the month.
So, if Deadpool wasn’t playing, what movie blew up the megaplexes? Stephen Chow’s (writer/director/star of Kung-Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer, CJ-7) fantasy-rom-com The Mermaid made history with $485 million since its February 8th debut (that’s $200 million more than Deadpool!). It will be the first Chinese movie to cross the half billion mark. On top of that, the sequel to Crouching Tiger scored an impressive debut recently with $37 million, along with action-comedy From Vegas to Macau 3 ($167 million) and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($149.5 million) to contribute to the record-breaking month.
What do these box office results mean? Are we in the middle of a tectonic shift in blockbuster entertainment?
Let us know in the comments below.