Warner Bros.’ ‘Gravity’ Starts Off Strong in China

(Source Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros.’ (NYSE:TWX) sci-fi film phenomenon Gravity has gotten off to a hot start in China, earning $9 million in two days, Variety reports. According to Warner Bros., the film grossed $4.7 million on its first day, becoming the studio’s best non-holiday launch in the country.

Released on 5,854 screens, the Alfonso Cuarón-directed space thriller accounted for a whopping 68 percent of the top films in the market. Now the second largest film market in the world behind North America, China is sure to give a huge boost to Gravity’s international gross which has now reached $290 million. And considering that Warner Bros.’ summer action film Pacific Rim earned $111 million in the territory — $10 million more than its domestic take — the studio is likely to see huge profits over the coming days and weeks.

Of course, a little over a month ago a Chinese release was no sure thing. The country’s stringent policies toward film imports have led to lots of headaches within the studios, with one studio source telling the Hollywood Reporter, “The Chinese have done a great job of marginalizing our movies while pushing their own.” The Reporter’s source was referring to the country’s 34-film quota for non-Chinese films on top of its film scheduling policies, which often put American imports in competition with one another rather than up against Chinese films. Additionally, China’s Film Bureau has the power to deny a film’s import due to unflattering depictions of China.

Along with the $4.7 million earned in China on Tuesday, Gravity also earned $2.2 million in its other overseas markets to bring the film’s worldwide total to $530 million. France is currently the top overseas market for the film, having grossed $33 million total, with South Korea close behind at $26 million. Following China’s release, Japan will become the last territory for the film to be released in, doing so on December 13. But Gravity’s box office run in China is widely expected to blow past every other territory to become the number one market outside of North America.

Gravity, which was released in North America on October 4, has earned $240 million domestic. On top of breaking the record for best October opening, the film remained the number one film for three straight weekends before falling to number two the weekend of October 25.

Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts forced to rely on one another to survive after debris from a satellite crashes into their shuttle, Gravity’s breakout success has lead industry onlookers to see the film as a strong player when the Academy Awards come around — especially for Bullock, who is likely to get her second Oscar nomination in four years.

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