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David Poland

By David Poland

Adjusted World-Wide Grosses Based On Estimated China Rental

Anyone who has read me for a while knows how much I don’t love adjusted numbers. However, the recent massive changes in China’s box office in regard to U.S. films seems to demand consideration. (These stats are based on what is available on Box Office Mojo.)

In the last two years – so far… more to come – there are seven films that have grossed $100m or more of their worldwide total in China. Prior to 2014, it happened three times. Avatar broke ground with just over $200 million in 2010, followed by Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011 with $165 million, and Iron Man 3, with $121 million in 2013.

There have been 10 films with international grosses of $500 million or more in the last two years. The only one not to play in China (yet) is Minions. And there are only two others that failed to hit the $100 million gross mark in China (Maleficent and The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The last time a mega-international grosser went unplayed in China was Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2, which was the only film in that franchise to do over $500m internationally, though none of the sexually-charged series played onscreen in China.

Other franchises/genres that had limited play/revenue in China despite huge international numbers include Harry Potter (top was the finale, which did under $28 million), Pirates (best showing for 4… $70 million), animation (only three ever over $50 million, led by Kung Fu Panda 2‘s $92 million), and Spider-Man, who has never cracked $100 million in China.

The only films that would lose their Billion Dollar Club status by adjusting the charts are Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

So… here is a very rough estimation based on the Chinese gross returning 45% (or less) of what theatrical runs in other countries would return to distributors. There are a few films that have made better deals than this… and most have done worse than I am estimating. But this is a broad survey and meant to be generous… but to still stimulate the conversation.

At this size, the charts are nearly unreadable. Click to expand to an easily-read size.

China Adjusted billion $ totals

China Adjusted under a billion 500m int

5 Responses to “Adjusted World-Wide Grosses Based On Estimated China Rental”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    Nice work! Did you do this? Much appreciated. Been doing this back of the napkin for a long time.

  2. Foamy Squirrel says:

    DP Wrote:
    In the last two years – so far… more to come – there are seven films that have grossed $100m or more of their worldwide total in China. Prior to 2014, it happened three times.

    Four. Pacific Rim in 2013 – $111.94mil.

  3. monco says:

    My eyes are probably skipping over it but where is The Dark Knight on the list. It is the lowest of the billion ww grossers. It should be #22 with no adjustments. I don’t know what it made in China but wasn’t there a controversy there because the movie depicted Hong Kong businessmen as bad guys.

  4. js partisan says:

    Yeah. I am not sure TDK ever played in China, so that’s why it’s not on the list.

  5. Geoff says:

    Predictably of the top grossers, Furious 7 loses the most ground but I don’t think Universal is complaining.

    Curious question about China: when is Max Max Fury Road opening there? I would think it could clean up in that market, purely visual storytelling in that movie.

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