Transformers Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction” is on pace to shatter opening weekend records in China, according to three individuals with knowledge of the market.

The Paramount Pictures release debuted to $30 million in the People’s Republic, counting midnight figures from Thursday. That represents a record for the largest opening day for a foreign film in China. It is on pace to do at least $80 million at the Chinese box office and will probably climb even higher, the individuals said.

“It’s a new stratosphere,” said one individual.

A spokeswoman for Paramount declined to comment.

If it hits that figure, it will be an opening weekend record. “Iron Man 3″ posted a $64.5 million debut when it premiered last year, which was the previous high-water mark.

If the picture continues to attract crowds into its second or third weeks, it could surpass the $221.9 million that “Avatar” made during its Chinese release, which was a record total for a U.S. film.

Analysts think that a $200 million-plus haul is achievable for “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” The pic was partly filmed in China and includes Chinese talent such as local star Li Bingbing. Paramount also partnered with several Chinese companies on sponsorship deals that helped raise awareness.

The bad news for Hollywood is that if “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the juggernaut it’s shaping up to be, Chinese authorities may be wary of granting release dates to other U.S.-backed blockbusters in order to bolster their local product. As it stands, the next U.S. film due to hit China will be “American Hustle,” which debuts there next month.

“Age of Extinction” had the biggest opening day of the year in the U.S. with $41.6 million on Friday. It’s on track to earn $100 million-plus by Sunday for the best debut of 2014.

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