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‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ Poised to Earn More in China Than North America

Vin Diesel’s “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” is prepared to make more in China than in North America after getting off to a roaring start in the Middle Kingdom. Its Friday debut saw “xXx” topping the Chinese box office and ending the recent dominance of local-language Chinese New Year titles.

By 7 p.m. Friday, Chinese time, “xXx” had driven off with $16.3 million (RMB113 million) according to data from China Box Office. That gave it a 51% share of the nationwide total. Ticket sales platform WePiao put the total at $20.3 million (RMB140 million) by 11 p.m.

Released in North America on Jan. 20, the film flopped, with just $41 million to date. The film could exceed that in its first weekend in China.

The film benefits from the popularity in China of both lead Vin Diesel and Donnie Yen, the Hong Kong-based action star who also enjoyed a headline-grabbing role in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

“xXx” is the first major Hollywood release since the beginning of the lunar new year holidays, a period that industry regulators normally reserve for local films. Last week’s market leader, “Kung Fu Yoga,” was relegated to second place with a 13% share, while Chinese New Year champion “Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back” dropped to fifth with 5%.

Distribution of “xXx” in China is handled by state-owned firms China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution. The film is one of several Paramount Pictures movies in which China’s Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group have finance roles and take associate producer credits.

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