Last year, China surpassed Japan to become the second-largest box office behind the United States, with theater earnings up 36 percent to $2.7 billion from the previous year. China’s box office gross in 2012 was still about one quarter of America’s, but that is expected to grow to one third of our take this year, and experts say by 2020, at the latest, China’s box office will be looking at the U.S. in the rearview mirror.
China is likely to surpass US movie box office in 2017 or 2018.
Partly financed by the Chinese studio DMG in addition to Hollywood’s Marvel Studios, “Iron Man 3” includes a number of scenes filmed on location in the People’s Republic. According to Marvel Studios, the Chinese edition also includes “significant Chinese elements” including special bonus footage and an appearance by their top actress, Fan Bingbing.
“Iron Man 3” has a huge tie-in with leading Chinese tech brand TCL as well, providing screen time for the company’s flat screen TVs, cloud computing technology, and Smartphone brand. In addition, TCL recently forked out $5 million for the naming rights to Hollywood’s iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theater, so now the film will feature a scene that annihilates the new “TCL Chinese Theater.”
Even the film’s leading man is involved in China outreach. During a promotional trip there earlier this month, Robert Downey Jr., who reprises his role as Tony Stark, excited the crowd by expressing his fascination with Chinese culture and love for Chinese films, while encouraging fans to flock to his superhero movie.