Though well prepared, China's movie market watchers are still stunned by the unprecedented opening of Transformers: Age of Extinction, estimated to have grossed some 200 million yuan ($32.2 million) on the first screening day.
According to Piaofangba, a weibo account on box office research, the new installment of the Transformer franchise has broken several records in China, including the biggest opening, compared with the previous 122 million yuan, set by The Monkey King.
The Paramount tentpole also dethroned Iron Man 3 with the largest midnight screening box office: 20 million yuan.
The autobots owe their success to the 20,000 plus movie screens, but also to favorable screening arrangements.
Some 63 percent of screens were set aside for Transformers 4, also a record.
As China and the United States are about to renegotiate imported movie quotas, movie authorities have been calling for theaters to give more support to domestic productions.
Zhang Hongsen, director of film bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said on Wednesday at the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival that he hoped movie theater chains would be more rational and give domestic movies a fair crack of the whip.
Zhang said he heard of some theaters trying to show Transformers 4 on all of their screens
"Have faith in domestic movies! How can we repeat the mistake on Lost in Thailand in 2012 when we thought it would only reach 200 million yuan and finally found it was a 1.2 billion yuan movie?" said Zhang.
The Breakup Guru, a domestic movie screened a day earlier, grossed a total of 57 million yuan, a not bad achievement considering its number of screens.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2014)