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‘Transformers’ China Box Office Outstrips U.S. as It Tops $400 Million Internationally

Michael Bay’s giant robot epic has taken in $212 million from the Mainland in 12 days, well over its $175 million domestic total

Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” continues to perform more strongly in China than in the United States.

It brought in $50.9 million there this weekend, upping its box-office total from the People’s Republic to $212 million after two weeks. “Age of Extinction” should surpass James Cameron‘s “Avatar” ($221.9 million) as the top-grossing movie ever at the Chinese box office some time this week. In the U.S., Michael Bay‘s morphing robots epic made $53.7 million over the five-day July 4 weekend, lifting its domestic total to nearly $175 million.

The $200 million “Age of Extinction” was made with the global box office, and China in particular, in mind. The strategy has worked, with the fourth entry in the “Transformers” franchise taking in more than $400 million internationally in just 12 days.

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The studio, Di Bonaventura Productions and Hasbro brought on CCTV’s China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises as co-producers. Chinese star Li Bingbing was cast in a key role and the film was shot in Hong Kong and Shanghai and features such national landmarks as the Great Wall and well-known skyscrapers as its backdrops. Director Bay and star Mark Wahlberg made several trips there before and after filming, and “Age of Extinction” had its world premiere there.

It is playing in 37 foreign markets, and held the top spot in all of them this weekend. Other impressive totals after two weekends include Russia ($35.7 million), Australia ($17.7 million) and Taiwan ($14.7 million).

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Paramount said “Age of Extinction” is running 21 percent ahead of the foreign box office totals for the previous “Transformers” film, “Dark of the Moon.” And it still has the key European markets to go, after steering clear during the World Cup soccer tournament.

It’s received a huge boost from 3D and IMAX theaters. With $53 million in two weeks, “Age of Extinction” is the fastest film ever to top $50 million in global grosses from IMAX theaters. The previous best was “Dark Knight Rises,” which brought in $51.9 million by the end of its second weekend.