The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has opened to an impressive $17.8 million in China, distributor Warner Bros. said Sunday, and the movie is now approaching the predicted $1 billion barrier at the global box office.
The film was released over the weekend in 44 Chinese Territories, collecting a debut total of $18.6 million from Hobbit fans there. This news should not be underestimated. China is one of the fastest growing markets for Western films that there is. Coupled with this is the realisation that about 25% of the planet speaks Chinese, which has led Wrap to speculate if Hollywood shouldn’t be gearing up to create fully Mandarin speaking films from now on.
This is a serious point when you look at the economics involved. Wrap reports:
“Its first effort, [Village Roadshow Pictures Asia], fantasy-action comedy Journey to the West: Conquering Demons, from ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ actor-director Stephen Chow, earned more on one day — ironically, Valentine’s Day — than any other movie on any day in Chinese history, grossing 122 million reminbi ($19.6 million). It has also become the fastest film to reach $100 million in its homeland.”