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‘Looper’ Box Office in China Bigger than U.S. at $24M

International distributor Endgame scores in China with "Looper," a co-production with Beijing-based DMG. "Resident Evil: Retribution" adds $20.7 million

The sci-fi thriller "Looper" topped its impressive U.S. debut with an even bigger $24 million opening in China, its international distributor Endgame Entertainment reported Sunday.

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, "Looper" took in $21.2 million over its opening weekend in North America for TriStar. It finished behind only Sony stablemate "Hotel Transylvania," which made $43 million.

Also read: 'Hotel Transylvania' Books Record at Box Office: $43M

Elsewhere overseas, Sony's "Resident Evil: Retribution" added another $20.7 million from 66 markets to raises its overall foreign gross to $137 million and its worldwide total to $175.7 million.

In China, Endgame took advantage of the fact "Looper" was a co-production with Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. Endgame fully financed the film and brought DMG on board to make it a co-production. Because it had a local partner, "Looper" was allowed to play over what was a holiday weekend in China despite a temporary ban on foreign films.

Chinese officials regularly close the market to foreign films for periods of time  in order to bolster the box office for Chinese movies.

"While we don’t have the final box office tally’s because of the Chinese national holiday, it looks as if we are No. 1 in that market and at least on par if not exceeding the U.S. box office," said Endgame chief executive Jim Stern. "A big congratulations to my partner Dan Mintz and his team at DMG are in order."

Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels co-star in the time-travel saga written and directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick”).