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U.S. movies help drive Chinese box office over $1 billion

BEIJING -- China’s box office has made its first $1 billion for the year, crossing the mark in the week that ended Sunday with some help from “Robocop.”

Year-to-date box office receipts for the mainland -- the world’s second biggest movie market behind the United States -- now stands at $1.03 billion for 2014, film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway said, a pace significantly ahead of 2013.

“Robocop,” Jose Padilha’s remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 futuristic dystopia classic, took in $21.5 million in its second week in release, claiming the top spot. The MGM production has now grossed $42 million in China.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” pulled in $11 million during the week, taking the No. 2 spot. The film has now racked up $71.3 million in China, Artisan said.

REEL CHINA: Coverage of the film industry in China

Third place for the week went to the Robert De Niro-Michelle Pfeiffer starrer “The Family,” which took in $5.21 million in its first week of release, narrowly edging out two other newcomers. The Chinese rom-com “The Old Cinderella” and the Reel FX animated turkey tale “Free Birds” each took in $5.11 million to tie for fourth place.

This Friday will see the release of DreamWorks’ “Need for Speed,” starring Aaron Paul, and the Jason Statham actioner “Homefront.”  Next week, Chinese audiences will get a look at South Korean director Joon-ho Bong’s “Snowpiercer,” starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell, which has yet to get a U.S. release.  “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” the Chinese noir film that took home the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival this year, also arrives in theaters March 21.

On March 28, DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” are scheduled to hit in mainland cinemas.


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