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'Godzilla' crushes China box office, opens with $38.2-million weekend

'Godzilla' wreaks havoc on the mainland China box office, pulling in $38.2 million in ticket sales last week

“Godzilla” stomped its way to the top of the mainland China box office last week, taking in $38.2 million in its first three days of release — the second-best opening weekend for any imported film this year, behind only “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

With its powerful start, the Warner Bros. monster movie is likely to surge past the $100-million mark on the mainland. “X-Men,” which hauled in $40.6 million on its opening weekend, has taken in nearly $113 million in the territory to date, according to figures from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which had a $37.9-million opening weekend in China, made more than $115 million on the mainland.

For many Chinese in their twenties and thirties, Godzilla was a staple of their childhood TV viewing, along with other Japanese cartoons such as Ultraman and Dinosaur Cops Koseidon. The new big-screen “Godzilla” also offered Chinese fans of Bryan Cranston — well known on the mainland for his role on the popular TV show “Breaking Bad” — to see him on the big screen.

Overall, it was a strong China weekend for Warner Bros., as its “Edge of Tomorrow” nabbed the No. 2 spot at the box office with $25 million. The Tom Cruise film has now grossed $51.5 million in China, Artisan said.

“X-Men,” nearing the end of its run, was in third place, followed by the Hong Kong crime flick “Overheard 3” and the local romance “Night of Adventure.”

This Friday, the Angelina Jolie-starrer “Maleficient” and “Grace of Monaco” will open, giving a female slant to the box office after weeks of male-skewing action and superhero films. Nicole Kidman was in China over the weekend, collecting an award at the Shanghai International Film Festival and touting “Grace.”

China’s box-office receipts for 2014 will likely cross the $2-billion mark by the end of this week; year-to-date box office for the U.S. and Canada market stands at about $4.7 billion.

“Transformers 4” will arrive in Chinese cinemas June 27, following its Hong Kong premiere this week. The Michael Bay-directed film shot partially in the city, a special administrative region of China, and the Paramount Pictures franchise has been a strong performer on the mainland.

Tommy Yang in the Times’ Beijing bureau contributed to this report.

Follow me on Twitter @JulieMakLAT

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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