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'Captain America's' China haul nearly $100 million over 3 weekends

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BEIJING — “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has raked in nearly $100 million in China and in 17 days has become the seventh highest-grossing imported film ever in the mainland.

The Marvel superhero sequel took in $18.2 million in the week that ended Sunday, data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway showed. The film starring Chris Evans has now been atop the mainland box office for three consecutive weeks and as of Sunday had earned $98.1 million. That’s more than 2012’s “The Avengers,” but still behind six other foreign films, including last year’s “Iron Man 3.”

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The Captain still has some distance to run, however; the film is expected to be in theaters until May 4, and could benefit from holiday movie-going as China marks the May Day holiday and most workers will have days off May 1-3.

In second place for the week ending Sunday was Fox’s “Rio 2,” which took in about $12.3 million in its second week of release. The animated tale has now grossed $23.3 million in China, Artisan said.

“Transcendence” took third place with $10.9 million — just slightly under its lackluster stateside haul. The sci-fi film, which was co-produced by Beijing’s DMG Entertainment and Alcon Entertainment, opened Friday, the same day as in the U.S.

Headliner Johnny Depp traveled to China last month to promote the movie, but die-hard Depp fans in China complained online that he did not have as much of a presence in the film as they had hoped.

“I’m only watching ‘Transcendence’ because of Depp, yet he is almost just an illusion in the whole film,” wrote one viewer in an online forum. Said another: "'Transcendence' has great ambition but very few impressive scenes … its cast is big but the performances are minimal, it has deep connotations but the expression is shallow, there is lots of promotion but very little box office."

Rounding out the top five earners were the local production “That Demon Within,” with $8.2 million and Millennium Films’ “The Legend of Hercules,” with nearly $4 million.

Nicole Liu in the Times’ Beijing bureau contributed to this report.

julie.makinen@latimes.com

Twitter: @JulieMakLAT

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