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'San Andreas' leads foreign charge at China box office

Japan's 'Stand by Me Doraemon' has become the No.3 animated film of all time in China, with $73.5 million

Chinese moviegoers flocked to cinemas last week to watch the 3-D destruction of California, putting “San Andreas” atop the box-office charts with nearly $52 million in receipts in its first six days in theaters. That was nearly as good as the Warner Bros. film's opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada.

As summer gets underway, Hollywood, Bollywood and Japanese movies are dominating at Chinese movie theaters.

The Japanese animated film “Stand by Me Doraemon” -– about a cute blue robot cat from the future -- has taken in almost $73.6 million since its May 28 release. Audience interest held strong during the movie's second week in theaters, with receipts dropping only about 10%.

According to data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway, the movie is now the third-biggest-grossing animated film of all time on the mainland, behind only DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” and Disney’s “Big Hero 6.”

Meanwhile, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” wrapped up its Chinese run with a total of $234.2 million, making it the third-highest-grossing film of all time in China, behind “Furious 7” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” has earned about twice as much as a number of high-flying superhero films from last summer, such as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

At the midway point of 2014, those were the top two grossing foreign films in China, each with about $115 million in earnings. But already in 2015, “Avengers” has crossed the $200-million mark and “Furious 7” approached $400 million in ticket sales on the mainland. Year to date, China’s box-office take stands at $2.87 billion, Artisan said, and should surpass $3 billion in less than two weeks. 

In fourth place last week was the Indian sci-fi adventure film “P.K.,” which has taken in almost $16.5 million since its release May 22; it’s the highest-grossing Indian film ever to play in China.

Disney’s “Tomorrowland” rounded out the top five last week with $3.8 million, bringing the cumulative take for the George Clooney starrer to almost $18 million.

“Jurassic World” will be the next big Hollywood release in China, arriving in theaters Wednesday.

Follow @JulieMakLAT for news from China

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