'Avatar' dethroned by 'Transformers' in ten days of release.
HONG KONG — A huge second weekend has given “Transformers: Age of Extinction” over $220 million at the Chinese box office and the country’s all-time theatrical record.
The film grossed RMB740 million ($119.8 million) in the week to Sunday (July 6, 2014), according to data from Ent Group. That followed a smashing three-day opening weekend of RMB628 million ($101.7 million) and gave the Michael Bay-directed film a 10-day cume to Sunday of RMB1.37 billion ($221.9 million).
“Avatar’s” all-time record stood at RMB1.39 billion. But that figure was certainly surpassed on Monday, for which data in not yet locally available.
Also, given that the Chinese currency has appreciated since “Avatar’s” release in 2009, the score by “Transformers 4″ is worth considerably more to its studio owners than the James Cameron-directed fantasy.
Paramount has not yet confirmed the Chinese data.
The pic is treated as an import into China — not a co-production — but combines numerous Chinese elements and was extensively shot in China and China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. It was made with China Movie Channel (CCTV6) as a production partner and leaned on the state-backed channel and its movie website M1905 as promotional partners. Some minor cast members were recruited through a reality show, while Chinese star Li Bingbing has been at the forefront in the promotional efforts.
Inevitably, such gargantuan success has attracted detractors. On Monday three Chinese anti-tobacco groups accused the film of having too many scenes of people smoking.
Last week Wulong Karst Tourism Group, an organization representing an area of natural beauty near Chongqing, threatened to sue M1905 arguing that the filmmakers failed to honor the details of a product promotion contract that required them to give prominent display to Wulong’s logo. Earlier, a Beijing hotel threatened to disrupt the film’s release for similar reasons. That dispute was quickly settled.
The previous installment. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” completed its Chinese run with a cume of $165 million.