Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

'Iron Man 3' smashes opening box office record in China

By Sophie Brown, for CNN
May 3, 2013 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 'Iron Man 3' has record-breaking opening day in China
  • First-day box office sales topped $21 million
  • The Chinese version has extra scenes not in the original

Hong Kong (CNN) -- "Iron Man 3" has set a new box office record in China, taking 130 million yuan ($21 million) on its opening day.

The appeal may have something to do with additional scenes added into the Chinese version of the film. The extra four minutes of footage feature product placement for a Chinese-branded milk drink and two new characters, Dr Wu and his assistant, played by top Chinese actors Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing, respectively.

Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com, described the scenes as "borderline propaganda" in an interview with CNN's Andrew Stevens. But the inclusion of the scenes, he said, gave the film access to the Chinese market that other Hollywood studios lack.

The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios teamed up with Beijing-based DMG Entertainment for the third installment of the Iron Man series. DMG Entertainment is also a co-distributor in China, where some filming took place.

China's Hollywood dream

With China surpassing Japan as the world's second largest movie market last year, studios that successfully appeal to Chinese audiences can reap sizeable profits. But navigating around the country's censorship and other restrictions has proved a challenge for some.

READ MORE: Iron Man passes $300 million internationally

When "Red Dawn" was released in China last year, a scene showing an invasion by Chinese forces was changed to the North Korean army, and a shoot-out scene set in Chinatown in "Men in Black 3" was cut entirely.

"The American studios are desperate to get into China," said Pandya. "And they're looking for new ways to profit from this growing market. The population of just the middle class alone is much bigger than the entire United States population, so there's tremendous potential there."

Pandya predicts the movie's gross profits in China will reach well over $100 million.

Robert Downey Jr. spoke of his fascination with Chinese culture during a promotional tour for the film in Beijing last month. "I'm interested in all things Chinese and I live a very Chinese life in America," he said.

Globally, "Iron Man 3" has already raked in more than $300 million since it premiered in London on April 18. The film opens in the U.S. on Friday.

Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" set the previous opening-day Chinese box office record in 2011, grossing 110 million yuan ($17 million).

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)
Cyprus, the tiny Mediterranean island bailed a year ago, is starting to rebuild itself, the finance minister tells CNN.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1157 GMT (1957 HKT)
Mobile World Congress spans the full spectrum of untethered gadgetry Explore this year's top trends with Stuff Magazine Editor Will Findlater.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
CNN's John Defterios says India's election race will likely boil down to three simple numbers: growth, inflation and interest rates.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
More than a million Londoners live in flatshares. And while this used to be associated with students, more mature people find themselves sharing.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1050 GMT (1850 HKT)
Nina Dos Santos visits Baselworld the world's most prestigious event for top jewelry and watch brands.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Will Xi Jinping's historic visit to the European Union headquarters help the Chinese leader get what he needs from the EU?
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Binnaz Saktanber says many feel trapped between their brains, telling them to leave Turkey, and hearts, which tell them to stay.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
"I thought I'd sold it," says Norwegian man who left luxury boat in marina two years -- with keys tied to railings. What happened?
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
The United Kingdom is champagne's biggest export market. CNN's Isa Soares reports on what's driving sales.
March 26, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
"Sorry, I don't go south of the river," was once a common refrain from London taxi drivers. Not anymore. South London is booming.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1834 GMT (0234 HKT)
The list of Russians targeted by Western sanctions includes people from Vladimir Putin's inner circle -- including his judo sparring partner.
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Her passion for public speaking and networking have earned Julia Hobsbawm the moniker "queen of networking." What is her secret?
Google Glass is trying to shed its public relations problem of a nerdy image by teaming up with the company behind Ray-Bans and Oakley sunglasses.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)
European leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss further sanctions against Russia. But they are likely to be cautious. Here is why.
ADVERTISEMENT