9 Hollywood movies that dominated the Chinese box office in 2018, including some that underperformed in the US

Warner Bros.‘Aquaman’
  • The Chinese box office has become an essential part of the success of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.
  • Movies that underwhelmed in the US, like “Rampage,” rebounded in China. Others, like “Aquaman,” dominated the global box office thanks to huge box office in China.
  • China is projected to dethrone the US as the world’s biggest theatrical market by 2022.

The US box office broke records in 2018 thanks to blockbusters like “Black Panther” and surprises like “A Quiet Place.” But the international box office, primarily China, is still essential for Hollywood, and 2018 proved that.

China has approved an unexpected number of Hollywood movies this month in an effort to reach its 2018 box office goal of $US8.7 billion by year’s end, Bloomberg recently reported. China still relies on many imported movies, but it’s fast catching up to the US in terms of its box office. The country is projected to surpass the US as the world’s biggest theatrical market by 2022, according to a report from Ampere Analysis released in November.

READ MORE: The 10 highest-grossing movies in the US of 2018, from ‘Black Panther’ to ‘The Grinch’

Movies that underwhelmed in the US, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Rampage,” rebounded in China. It grossed $US101 million in the US, but $US156 million in China. “The Meg,” another monster movie, made $US530 million worldwide, boosted by its $US153 million take in China.

“Venom,” Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off, overcame terrible reviews to become a global hit, propelled by its Chinese box office. Despite a 28% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, “Venom” is the fifth highest-grossing movie in the world in 2018 with $US855 million. $US270 million of that came from China.

But another huge comic-book movie could swim past “Venom” any day now. Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman” is currently at $US750 million worldwide, and is eyeing over $US900 million before it leaves theatres. It’s grossed nearly $US190 million in the US, but $US232 million in China, thanks to a rare early release ahead of its domestic debut.

Chinese audiences love monster movies, Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock told Business Insider earlier this year, and some of China’s top Hollywood movies fall into that category, like “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Aquaman,” “Venom,” “The Meg,” and “Rampage.”

“Monster movies are bonafide box-office gold in China,” Bock said.

But Chinese audiences also flocked to the theatre for the likes of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” showing that it’s not all about monster mayhem.

Nine Hollywood movies entered the top 20 at the Chinese box office this year, according to Box Office Mojo. We’ve rounded them up, including the Chinese, domestic, and worldwide box office for each.

Below are the nine biggest Hollywood movies in China in 2018, ranked by Chinese box office (all numbers are according to Box Office Mojo unless otherwise stated):


9. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Marvel Studios

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 18

Chinese box office: $US121,203,074

Domestic box office: $US216,648,740

Worldwide box office: $US622,674,139

Estimated production budget: $US162 million (source: Variety)


8. “The Meg”

Warner Bros.

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 16

Chinese box office: $US153,033,208

Domestic box office: $US145,443,742

Worldwide box office: $US530,243,742

Estimated production budget: $US130 million


7. “Rampage”

Warner Bros.

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 15

Chinese box office: $US156,381,897

Domestic box office: $US101,028,233

Worldwide box office: $US428,028,233

Estimated production budget: $US120 million


6. “Mission: Impossible — Fallout”

Paramount

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 14

Chinese box office: $US181,184,137

Domestic box office: $US220,159,104

Worldwide box office: $US791,017,452

Estimated production budget: $US176 million


5. “Ready Player One”

DreamWorks

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 10

Chinese box office: $US218,471,784

Domestic box office: $US137,690,172

Worldwide box office: $US582,890,172

Estimated production budget: $US176 million


4. “Aquaman”

Warner Bros.

Overall ranking at Chinese box office (so far):9

Chinese box office (so far): $US232,954,203

Domestic box office (so far): $US188,785,000

Worldwide box office (so far): $US748,785,000

Estimated production budget: $US160 million (source: IMDb Pro)


3. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Universal

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 8

Chinese box office: $US261,224,207

Domestic box office: $US416,769,345

Worldwide box office: $US1,304,944,060

Estimated production budget: $US170 million


2. “Venom”

Sony

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 7

Chinese box office: $US270,554,912

Domestic box office: $US213,205,181

Worldwide box office: $US855,156,907

Estimated production budget: $US100 million


1. “Avengers: Infinity War”

Marvel

Overall ranking at Chinese box office: 5

Chinese box office: $US359,543,153

Domestic box office: $US678,815,482

Worldwide box office: $US2,048,709,917

Estimated production budget: $US321 million (source: Forbes)

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