'Amazing Spider-Man 2' Tops Chinese Box Office, Balancing Lukewarm American Gross

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 poster
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

Spider-Man’s popularity in the U.S. might be fading, but he’s only getting bigger in China.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is on track for a disappointing domestic take-home, but had a much stronger showing in China, where it topped the nation’s box office over the weekend and broke single-day records the week before.

The Sony sequel to “The Amazing Spider-Man” succeeded despite an awkward opening weekend in China, setting a new record for a film’s performance in one day with $9.75 million, numbers heavily boosted by a widely attended midnight premiere. Numbers likely would have been even higher without a handful of handicaps against the film.

The film debuted on Sunday at the tail end of a week-long blackout on foreign releases to promote homegrown films during China's Labor Day celebrations. When it finally did premiere, it was on a government business day, a make-up for work lost on the Labor Day holiday. As a result, its initial weekend gross was lower than a full weekend might offer, even with a record-breaking single day in its run -- leaving it ranked at an artificially low fourth place spot for the weekend.

That was quickly remedied: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” easily topped the Chinese box office in its second weekend, taking in $25.1 million for a total gross of $54 million over its eight days in theaters, Deadline reports. That’s more money that the first “Amazing Spider-Man” made across its theatrical run in China -- just $48.8 million.

While Spider-Man films are seeing diminishing returns in America -- each film released since 2002 has made less money than its predecessor -- the character’s popularity only seems to be growing in China. The film’s performance is also boosted by the growing market for Western films in China. Since the first “Amazing Spider-Man” was released in China in 2012, the Chinese box office has grown more than 27 percent and is expected to get bigger. All told, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” brought in an estimated $69.5 million internationally, owing more than a third of the film’s overseas weekend gross to the Chinese box office.

The Chinese-produced romantic comedy “My Old Classmate” took second place over the weekend, dropping from the number one spot. The Frank Guo-directed movie jumped to a $63.6 million total haul in its third weekend at the box office. “The Great Hypnotist,” another homegrown film, clocked in at third place with a $32.7 million.

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