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Superheroes don't skyrocket in China

By Zhang Rui  (

08:56, August 29, 2012

Two long-anticipated superhero movies finally hit Chinese cinemas yesterday, but failed to set any opening records due to bad timing as this year saw a long summer of domestic film protection policies in China.

The two competing rivals -- DC Comics' Batman conclusion "The Dark Knight Rises," released by Warner Bros. and Marvel Comics' teenage reboot "The Amazing Spider-Man," released by Columbia Pictures – went head to head late Sunday night. Combined, they made about 6 million yuan (US$943,602) at the box office as many theaters offered audiences a joint viewing.

The opening day estimates show they made 62 million yuan (US$9.75 million) – Batman 28 million (US$4.4 million) and Spider-Man 34 million (US$5.35 million), - which are not necessarily bad numbers, but simply somewhat disappointing for many theater managers, learned.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" features 3D and 3D- IMAX versions (no 2D version) plus a shorter runtime, which mean higher prices and more screenings. "The Dark Knight Rises" only comes in 2D and IMAX plus the movie runs slightly longer. Many cinemas said it pains them to decide on screening time slots, and the screening time for these two films in particular will usually be half-half.

But the Capital Cinema's executive Yu Chao said that only after this upcoming weekend, they can have a clear idea about which one will come in first eventually.

Warner Bros. previously tried to delay Christopher Nolan's Batman debut until September to avoid it coinciding with that of "The Amazing Spider-Man." They failed. Frustrated, they then decided not to hold any opening premiere at all, but to just release the movie. The film debuted in the United States on July 20, but its box office scores suffered from the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. So far, the movie has grossed US$422 million in North America (US$941 million worldwide), ranking only behind- another superhero film- "The Avengers" this year.

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