BEIJING -- Smog seems to have helped Smaug at the Chinese box office this last weekend.
"The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug," raked in about $33.7 million from Friday to Sunday, consulting firm Artisan Gateway said Tuesday, putting it in first place. Intense air pollution covering much of northern China may have helped drive patrons to theaters, as the government advised people to limit outdoor activities.
"Smaug" far outperformed the opening weekend of director
MGM's "Robocop" is the next U.S. release in China, opening Friday.
All the talk in Hollywood this week may be about the
"Gravity" opened in China in November and grossed more than $70 million. But none of the other contenders -- "Captain Phillips,"
"American Hustle" is said to be getting a March release; no concrete plans for any of the other best picture nominees have materialized.
Chinese film fans, however, may take a special interest in the best visual effects category. All five contenders in that race -- "Gravity," "The Lone Ranger," "
Director Feng Xiaogang says he is teaming up for an English-language remake of his 2004 film "A World Without Thieves."
Feng, helmer of such films as
"A World Without Thieves" starred
"We have finished a draft script and [are] going to carry out in-depth discussion about it," Feng told the state-run Xinhua News Service. Feng was in England for a British Film Institute tribute.
News of Feng’s English-language project comes on the heels of word that Zhang Yimou is planning to take on an English challenge as well; the Chinese director of "Raise the Red Lantern" and mastermind of the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, is reportedly set to direct an adaptation of the