‘The Martian’ Soars to $50.1 Million Opening in China

'The Martian's' China Opening Soars to
Courtesy of Fox

The Martian” rocketed to $50.1 million in China this weekend, demonstrating that it pays to have the world’s second-largest film market play a key role in a picture’s plot.

In the film, China’s space program gives critical aid to NASA that allows the governmental organization to bring a stranded astronaut (Matt Damon) back to earth. Other films, such as “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” have shot in China or included Chinese actors — a series of nods to the People’s Republic that historically has paid off at ticket booths.

“If you include China in your film it goes a long way at the box office,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “People say that jingoism goes a long way in America. Well, it does in other countries too and we’ll probably see more of it going forward.”

Fox released the science-fiction adventure, which has gone on to make $545.1 million globally. It easily ranks as the highest-grossing film of director Ridley Scott’s career, passing the $457.6 million made by “Gladiator.” It’s also the best performing film to star Damon, pushing ahead of “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($442.8 million).

“The Martian’s” opening topped Chinese charts, and outranks previous outer-space themed films like “Gravity” and “Interstellar,” positioning it well for the future. Japan will be the final market where it opens when it debuts in February, 2016.

Despite the massive results, “The Martian” wasn’t the highest-grossing film at the foreign box office. That honor went to “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” with $62 million. The final film in the futuristic franchise has made $440.7 million in global ticket sales.

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  1. Snail says:

    This success of this movie makes me soooooo happy, not only because I love it, but because it appeals to the better angels of our nature. and THAT is sorely needed in today’s world.

  2. The film and China’s connection also proves that if we just talked and worked together the world can be a better place

  3. Sharon says:

    The Martian is slaying. Great movie!

  4. BIlly Bob says:

    Need to make sure you don’t incorporate China overload in your movies in future at risk of alienating other audiences. Especially with Distributors only getting 25% of box office returns where in Japan they can get 55%.

    • herrumph says:

      Yeah but China’s 25% is bigger than Japans 55%. That’s like saying Hollywood gets 100% of the US so they should ignore Japan for only giving 55%. Plus if you’ve seen the Japanese box office lately domestic movies beat Hollywood movies many times.

  5. nerdrage says:

    The China angle was so obviously shoehorned into the plot, which could have gone on perfectly well without it. At least it looks like they’re getting paid off for it. Otherwise, it’s an excellent movie.

    • herrumph says:

      You do know the China part was in the book? Did you know it’s from a book?

    • Joe says:

      That’s false. The China element already exists in Andy Weir’s novel. It’s not something they made up
      only to please the Chinese. It was a lucky coincidence. But Michael Mann tried very hard to incorporate China into “Blackhat” using local acting talent, locations and even in the plot cooperating with the Chinese. That didn’t work out: It flopped hard in the US and wasn’t even released in China.
      You see: First you need to have a great screenplay and movie, then you think about giving the Chinese something, right?

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