Chinese Blockbuster ‘Lost in Thailand’ Fizzles in U.S. Debut

Chinese Blockbuster 'Lost in Thailand' Fizzles in U.S. Debut

Distributor AMC targeted niche audiences with limited U.S. rollout of Chinese blockbuster

It doesn't look like “Lost in Thailand,” China's biggest domestic hit ever, will be breaking any box office records in the U.S.

Distributor AMC estimated Sunday that the broad comedy will gross about $29,143 from 35 locations in its first weekend of release in North America. That's a soft $833 per-screen average.

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The limited U.S. rollout signaled that AMC was targeting niche, rather than blockbuster, audiences, and its release here is timed to coincide with Sunday's beginning of the Chinese New Year.

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The mini-budgeted “Lost in Thailand” — it cost less than $5 million to produce — has taken in more than $201.9 million since its mid-December debut in China.  It was that country's highest-grossing film in 2012, easily outperforming the 3D re-release of "Titanic," which was second with $58 million.

Chinese comedian Xu Zheng directed and stars in “Lost in Thailand.” He plays a scientist who has developed Super Gas and is racing his evil rival (Huang Bo to Thailand to get the approval of his boss. On the flight there, he falls in with a simple Chinese pancake flipper (Wang Baoqiang ) with grand plans for his vacation.