Sci-Fi Film Tops China Box Office With $23M-$25M Gross
One of the most anticipated Hollywood-China co-productions to hit screens to date, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis sci-fi action film “Looper” achieved not only a strong global opening this weekend, but also became the first international film ever to rake in more in its China opening than in its native US. According to the Guardian, the film, which was shot for US$30 million, pulled in an estimated $21 million in the US market but is expected to have made between $23-25 million in China in its opening weekend. As James Stern of Endgame Entertainment — which produced the film along with Sony/TriStar Pictures, FilmDistrict and China’s DMG Entertainment — told Deadline Hollywood, “While we don’t have the final box office tallys because of the Chinese National Holiday, it looks as if we are #1 in that market and at least on par if not exceeding the U.S. box office, marking the very first time in history that China would be world’s leading market for an international film.”
Aimed at attracting both American and Chinese audiences, as Jing Daily noted last summer, DMG agreed to fund a rumored 40 percent of the US$30 million “Looper” budget under the condition that a key location in the film was moved from Paris to Shanghai, and that a role was included for the Chinese actor Xu Qing. As Shanghaiist noted today, Looper proved highly popular with Chinese audiences despite the objections to time-travel themes of Beijing’s State Administration for Radio, Film & Television, “which last year called such storylines ‘frivolous’ and at risk of promoting ‘feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.'”
UPDATE 10/4/12: It appears that box office results for “Looper” in China were wildly inaccurate, owing to an accounting error.