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“Transformers 4” dethrones “Avatar” to become top-grossing film in China

“Transformers 4” raked in some 1.4 billion yuan (S$280.7 million) in just 12 days to dethrone sci-fi action film “Avatar” and become the top-grossing film to date in China.

BEIJING: It took just 12 days for the Hollywood blockbuster film “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” to dethrone sci-fi action film “Avatar” and become the top-grossing film to date in China, reported Chinese media.

Helmed by US director Michael Bay, “Transformers 4” has raked in about 1.4 billion yuan (S$280.7 million) since it opened in Chinese cinemas on June 27, surpassing the 1.37 billion yuan (S$274.7 million) “Avatar” took in since it first opened in China some four years ago in 2010.

The box office receipts for “Transformers 4” in China are expected to hit 2 billion yuan (S$401.1 million) in the following weeks.

“Transformers 4” director Michael Bay has been criticised by some Chinese netizens for his lack of creativity and for re-hashing old ideas in “Transformers 4”.

They have even given him an unflattering, phonetically-similar Chinese nickname, which can be roughly translated as “Selling Copies”.

So just how did “Transformers 4” become such a hit?  

Some Chinese film industry observers believe there is more to this than meets the eye.

They are convinced that the rapid increase in the number of cinema screens in China to meet growing demand in the country had made it possible for “Transformers 4” to quickly overtake “Avatar”, by making the film more accessible to its Chinese audience.

“Transformers 4” opened on about 20,000 cinema screens in China. “Avatar”, in contrast, only opened on about 5,000 screens.

Others believed that the production team’s decision to feature familiar Chinese stars like Li Bing Bing and Han Geng, as well as setting parts of the film in China, had paid off and allowed it to attract Chinese cinema-goers in droves.

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