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'Titanic' in 3-D has even higher Chinese debut than originally projected

April 16, 2012 |  2:58 pm

"Titanic" debuted to $67 million in China

The 3-D version of "Titanic" posted the highest opening of all time in China over the weekend. But it turns out that the movie made an even bigger splash at the box office than initially projected.

After playing for six days, distributor 20th Century Fox estimated Sunday that the film had grossed a record-breaking $58 million in China. On Monday, the studio adjusted that figure when director James Cameron's 3-D re-release took in an actual $67 million.

It's not uncommon for early international box office figures to be slightly off, because many countries don't have electronic reporting — a common practice in the United States.

Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox International, attributed some of the film's success in China to the fact that the original played in only 180 theaters in 1998, compared with 3,500 for this year's 3-D release. But he also said Chinese moviegoers have responded to the romance between the characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

“I really do feel this love story just transcends cultures,” he said. “It’s a relatively simple story based on reality, and I think that appeals to people.” Hanneman also noted that 3-D films continue to be exceedingly popular in China, where fans who shell out money for pricey tickets would rather “embrace a premium experience.”

After its debut in China 12 years ago, Cameron's historical epic collected $44 million, remaining the most popular film in the country for 11 years until the release of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Now, the No. 1 grossing film in the country is Cameron's "Avatar," which made $207 million there in 2010.

"Titanic" in 3-D is performing well elsewhere overseas too: The movie raked in $98.9 million over the weekend, raising its international tally to $157.1 million. In total, the original "Titanic" and the 3-D version have now grossed over $2 billion. 

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— Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Kate Winslet stars in "Titanic." Credit: Paramount Pictures

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