Bing Search

Entertainment News

'Life of Pi' Blows Away Chinese Box Office
By Pamela McClintock ,  The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter -- This story first appeared in the Dec. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Call it the year of the tiger.

Not even 20th Century Fox expected Ang Lee s Life of Pi to become a cultural phenomenon in China, where after two weeks it has grossed more than $68 million, more than The Dark Knight Rises ($53 million) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($49 million) earned in their entire runs. It also has outgrossed the $60.9 million earned in North America.

PHOTOS: The Making of 'Life of Pi'

Taiwan-born Lee is a celebrated filmmaker in China and visited the country in November to promote the film, but Pi s success extends beyond just hero worship. The film has lit up social media sites, with more than 5 million Pi messages posted on leading Twitter-like site Sina Weibo thanks to its spiritual themes and its depiction of Indian culture. (It doesn t hurt that tigers like the Bengal breed featured in Pi are revered in China.)

The Hindustan Times in India even is speculating that Lee s film could boost the number of Chinese tourists traveling to the country, while the India-Taipei Association is launching Life of Pi tours.

STORY: Why Fox Gambled $100 Million on Ang Lee: The Making of 'Life of Pi'

Chinese moviegoers are huge fans of 3D and Imax, which can raise the cost of a ticket to $25. And the movie is generating big numbers in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well. It has grossed north of $10 million in India, a notoriously difficult market to crack for nonlocal titles. All told, Pi s international gross from 15 markets stands at north of $105 million, though it still needs to continue the pace to recoup its $120 million-plus production budget.

Fox International president Paul Hanneman is optimistic.  Everyone you talk to takes something different away from this movie, he says.  It s astonishing.

Related article on

Box Office Report: 'Life of Pi' a Hit in Asia, Crosses $80 Million Internationally

_ _ _ _

Find more online:

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.