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‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ Soars to $26 Million Opening at China Box Office

The DreamWorks Animation family film is about to pass ”Rio 2“ as year’s top animated film internationally

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” took off with a $25.9 million opening in China this weekend. That’s an eye-popping eight times more than the original film debuted with there.

In all, the DreamWorks Animation family film brought in $37.7 million from 28 foreign markets to up its international total to $366 million. Distributor Fox said Sunday that “Dragon 2” will pass “Rio 2” as the year’s biggest animated title at international box office later this week.

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The film, which was written and directed by Dean DeBlois and stars the voices of Jay Baruchel and Gerard Butler, has made $171 million in the United States — down from the $217 million that the original grossed in the U.S. But its $537 million worldwide total is a big improvement on the $494 million global total of the first film.

Part of the reason for the big disparity between the opening for the sequel and “Dragon 2” in China is the explosion in the number of theaters there. In spring of 2010, when the first “Dragon” debuted to $2.9 million, there were only about 1,000 3D screens in the country, while today there are more than 10,000. “Dragon 2” was in 3,379 locations and got a big boost from IMAX, which provided 12 percent, or $3 million, of the opening. 

Highlighted by a $6 million No. 1 opening in Brazil, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” rolled up $25.6 million to raise its international total to $67.5 million for Paramount. That’s 10 percent above the opening of “Guardians of the Galaxy” there.

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Meanwhile, the studio’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” added $8.4 million and passed “Iron Man 3” to move into sixth on the list of all-time box-office earners internationally with $811 million. It has taken in $1.05 billion worldwide and ranks 13th on the all-time list, according to Box Office Mojo. It will open in its final territory, Venezuela, next week.

Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” earned $33.1 million from 65 territories in its third weekend of overseas release. That ups its foreign total to $196 million, and with $419 million globally, it has already surpassed the $371 million worldwide box office total of “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

The leading foreign markets for “Guardians” so far have been the U.K. ($31.5 million) and Russia ($30.4 million), and it still has Germany, Italy, Japan and China to come.

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Sony’s “22 Jump Street” took in $3.3 million from 35 markets to up its overseas haul to $114 million. The Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill comedy sequel has brought in more than $300 million worldwide, way ahead of the $201 million total of “21 Jump Street.”