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‘Smaug’ Strong on Chinese Screens

HONG KONG — “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” put up a very strong opening weekend in its first outing in China. Over the three days it grossed an estimated $32.5 million (RMB198 million).

With an opening on 5,500 screens, or some 30% of the national total, “Hobbit” opened at number one, deposing “Beijing Love Story” from the top spot. The score is Warner Bros.’s largest opening frame in China and beat the previous “Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” by 74%.

The company said that the “Smaug” grossed $8.85 million (RMB54 million) on Friday; $12.95 million (RMB79 million) on Saturday and an estimated $10.7 million (RMB65 million) on Sunday.

China’s growing IMAX circuit accounted for $4.4 million of the film’s weekend total. That is the highest opening weekend score for a Hollywood film in China, ahead of “Gravity,” but behind the recently released Hong Kong-Chinese fantasy “The Monkey King,” which claimed an estimated $4.5 million.

“Hobbit” is only the second Hollywood film to release in China so far in February – due to releasing restrictions around the Chinese New Year holidays and Valentine’s Day – after “Frozen” which debuted on Feb. 5. Sony’s “Robocop” remake is up next with an outing on Feb 28.

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