‘Transformers 3’ tops 2011 Chinese B.O.

'Kung Fu Panda 2' comes in second

Hollywood tentpoles dominated a boffo 2011 for the Chinese film biz, preliminary data has shown, with “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” taking a storming $170 million in the world’s fastest-growing major movie market.

Ever since “Avatar” made $210 million in China, Hollywood has kept a beady eye on the performance of tentpoles here, even though Beijing’s quota system allows only 20 foreign films in the country per year on a revenue-sharing basis — and the 15% cut of the revenue is lower than elsewhere.

China’s enthusiastic cinemagoers did not disappoint.

While data from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television is due out at this month, early indicators are that Hollywood movies did extremely well.

Data from Entgroup, which compiles China’s B.O. data, showed that the hit of the year was “Transformers 3,” followed by “Kung Fu Panda 2” with $95 million.

The top earning local movie was Zhang Yimou’s Christian Bale starrer “The Flowers of War,” which opened Dec. 16 and took in $78 million by the end of the year. It’s cume is now $83 million.

The total gross for 2011 looks on track to sweep past $2 billion for the first time. It had reached $1.9 billion by the end of November and December is traditionally a busy period. Total B.O. in 2010 was $1.62 billion.

Data shows that 218 pics screened in China last year. By some estimates, around 500 were made in China in 2011.

There were 145 locally and co-produced movies in China last year and 78 imported movies, including Hong Kong and Taiwan films.

The government has made vague promises to free up its quota system for foreign pics, but there was not much evidence of this — there were exactly 20 revenue-share foreign movies released by the end of December.

A further 36 films were shown on a flat-fee basis and there were seven “special” films, which includes 3D or Imax productions. Altogether 35 films were imported from the U.S. last year.

The forecast for 2012 is again for 20 revenue-share films, 30 foreign movies on a flat-fee basis, and a “flexible” number of 3D and Imax films.

Hollywood 2011 tentpoles “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” have passed censors and will open on Jan. 15 and Jan. 28 respectively, to coincide with the lucrative Lunar New Year holiday period.

Other 2011 Hollywood fare expected in early 2012 include “Conan the Barbarian,” “Killer Elite,” “Trespass” and “Drive.”

More Film

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the industry organizaton. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. Polanski is suing the Academy [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]


    'Exorcist' Star Max Von Sydow Doesn't Let Age Define His Roles

    Max von Sydow turned 90 this month, which is a milestone for most people, but age has always seemed incidental to the actor. When he played the elderly, frail Father Merrin in “The Exorcist,” von Sydow was 44 — meaning he was the same age Bradley Cooper is today. In the 1950s, von Sydow had [...]

  • 'Changing the Game' Documentary

    Watch the First Trailer for Trans Documentary 'Changing the Game' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Another hurdle for trans rights could quite literally be the track and field hurdle. Transgender student athletes are put in the spotlight in the forthcoming documentary “Changing the Game,” set to premiere at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Variety has the world premiere of the doc’s first teaser trailer, which gives an in-depth look into the [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Box Office

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Conjures $2.8 Million on Thursday Night

    “The Curse of La Llorona,” the latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” universe, conjured $2.75 million from Thursday preview showings, while “Breakthrough,” a faith-based offering from Fox-Disney, brought in $1.5 million from its second day of screenings. “La Llorona’s” haul tops recent horror counterparts “Pet Sematary” and “Escape Room,” which each took [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content