China looks to Hollywood

Summer slate of U.S. tentpoles planned

A strong selection of Hollywood movies is expected to bow in mainland China this summer, as domestic production has been largely silent ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party’s ascension to power, to be celebrated Oct. 1.

June 24 sees the launch of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which is expected to do well after the first installment of the franchise made $37 million in China in 2007.

“Twilight” opens in China in August, while Disney-Pixar’s “Up” is expected to get a release on more than 200 3-D screens.

Other tentpoles include “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” although firm release dates have yet to be set.

Paramount’s actioner “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” may also be permitted.

The slate of domestic pics is short — just arthouse film “Birthday” and “Ma ian hua” (The Magic Aster), a toon featuring the voice talent of Houston Rockets basketball star Yao Ming, which is due on June 19.

Meanwhile, “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which opened May 26, has become the first overseas pic to earn more than 100 million yuan ($15 million) at the box office this year in mainland China, where domestic product has performed better in recent years.

There is a quota of about 20 foreign movies allowed into China every year on a revenue-sharing basis, although Hollywood prefers flat fees as a big hit can make more money. Of the 20 foreign pics, only a few are from Hollywood as the quota also covers films from countries besides the U.S.

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