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'Blade Runner 2049' falls flat in China while Warner Bros' 'Geostorm' outperforms

'Blade Runner 2049' falls flat in China while Warner Bros' 'Geostorm' outperforms
Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson and Alexandra Maria Lara as Ute Fassbinder in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Skydance's suspense thriller "Geostorm," which had a strong debut in China. (Warner Bros.)

Hollywood had a mixed week at the box office in China.

Director Dean Devlin's disaster thriller "Geostorm," starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess and Daniel Wu, had a higher-than-expected opening of $34.1 million in ticket sales in China, despite a dismal performance in North America, according to film consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

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The Warner Bros. film is lead actor Gerard Butler's top-grossing debut in China, surpassing his previous releases "London Has Fallen" and "Gods of Egypt."

Chinese moviegoers were particularly attracted to the film's California-born Chinese American actor Daniel Wu, who has made his mark as a box-office magnet.

By contrast, Sony Pictures' "Blade Runner 2049," which also opened last week, flopped with Chinese audiences. The neo-noir science fiction movie had a disastrous opening with only $7.7 million in ticket sales.

Director Denis Villeneuve's brooding sci-fi thriller was expecting far better grosses in the world's second-biggest film market.

20th Century Fox's "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" pulled in a solid $23.5 million last week, dropping to second place after taking the top spot the week prior. After 10 days in Chinese theaters, the action-adventure blockbuster, starring Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, has accumulated a total of $63.5 million and outperformed its predecessor "Kingsman: The Secret Service."

"Never Say Die," a low-budget domestic comedy produced by Beijing-based Fun Age Pictures, ranked third, scooping up $13.3 million for a total of $322.6 million. Since its late-September release it has become China's fourth-highest-grossing film of all time.

Thailand's dark thriller "Bad Genius," about talented students who develop elaborate, lucrative methods to help other students cheat, came in fifth with $5.7 million in tickets. The film has brought in a total of $38.7 million, making it the top-grossing Thai film ever in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

China's box office has grossed $6.8 billion so far this year, according to Artisan Gateway, about $1 billion more than in the same period a year ago.

Zhang is a special correspondent.

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