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In the filmmaking world, America has spent decades as the center of the industry, with Hollywood long considered the home of cinema and the box office market seen as the most important in the world. In recent years, however, the tide has begun to change. China has been getting more and more influential as time passes, and now it seems to have all led to this moment: in the month of February, China took America’s spot as the champion of the international box office for the first time ever.
The Hollywood Reporter has written a piece about this notable event, saying that the Chinese movie market pulled in an impressive $650 million last month. This narrowly beat out the United States’ total of $640 million. This big month for the Asian nation comes as a result of a huge box office win that China experienced during the Chinese New Year celebration.
It’s amazing enough that China could outpace America at the box office, and it’s worth noting that their top five for the month didn’t include any Hollywood production – just movies made in-country. For comparison purposes, you can see the individual top five rankings for the two nations below:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey – $147.8 million
2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water – $140.3 million
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service – $85.7 million
4. Jupiter Ascending – $43.1 million
5. McFarland, USA – $22 million
China 1. The Man From Macau II – $104 million
2. Dragon Blade – $95 million
3. Wolf Totem - $72 million
4. Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal – $56 million
5. Somewhere Only We Know – $44 million
Of the titles mentioned in the Chinese top five, the only one that many of you may recognize is Dragon Blade, but that’s probably just because the film stars Jackie Chan, Adrian Brody, and a very out-of-place-looking John Cusack. We’ve seen the trailers online, but apparently it was big hit overseas last month.
Looking back at the United States list, it’s pretty easy to spot where things went wrong. Fifty Shades of Grey, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water, and Kingsman: The Secret Service were all legitimate hits when they were released in February, but there is a steep drop-off in the fourth and fifth positions. Let’s not forget that the poor performance of Jupiter Ascending has the Wachoski siblings thinking they may never get to make another big blockbuster again.
February is classically one of the weakest months of the year where the United States box office is concerned, but it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. As THR notes, the number of screens in China “increases dramatically every week,” so it’s only a matter of time before they can potentially be operating on the same scale as Hollywood. What will happen then? Time will tell, but we may start seeing even more of a Chinese influence in our own blockbusters.