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China turns out for 'Titanic 3D'

The revamped version of James Cameron's hit enjoys the biggest box-office opening that country has had. Its six-day total is $58 million.

April 16, 2012
  • Chris Diamantopoulos, left, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso in "The Three Stooges."
Chris Diamantopoulos, left, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso in "The Three… (Peter Iovino, Twentieth…)

The sci-fi action flick "Battleship" got off to a solid start overseas this past weekend, grossing $58 million in 26 foreign countries. That sounds good — until you compare it with the receipts for "Titanic 3D," which has collected that much in China alone.

Indeed, the revamped version of James Cameron's 1997 classic posted the biggest opening of all time in China, surpassing the $55-million debut of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" last year. The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet dominated at the international box office this weekend, raking in $88.2 million from 69 foreign markets and bringing its total abroad to $146.5 million, according to distributor 20th Century Fox.

Upon its release in China 14 years ago, "Titanic" played in only 180 theaters, compared with the 3,500 locations the 3-D reissue screened in over the weekend. In six days, "Titanic 3D" has already made 32% more in China than the $44 million the original made during its entire theatrical run in the country.

"Battleship," meanwhile, doesn't hit Chinese theaters until next weekend. The Universal Pictures production is performing best in Asia, debuting with $8 million in Korea — more than action films such as "Transformers" or "Iron Man" opened to in the country.

The movie has yet to play in 24 foreign countries, including Russia, and won't hit U.S. theaters until May 18. Featuring "John Carter" star Taylor Kitsch as a member of a naval fleet who fights aliens at sea, it cost Universal about $210 million to produce. The movie is expected to ultimately perform far better abroad than domestically, considering its heavy use of special effects, which generally resonate more strongly with international audiences. 

— Amy Kaufman

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