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Transformers No.2 on China box office

2nd October 2007, 18:15 WST

Hollywood movie Transformers raked in $US37.3 million ($A41.79 million) at the Chinese box office, making it the No.2 grossing foreign movie of all time in the country after Titanic, an official said.

Film Bureau Deputy Director-General Zhang Pimin said in a phone interview Transformers was now second after surpassing the The Da Vinci Code, which drew in more than 100 million yuan ($A14.9 million).

Titanic made 359 million yuan ($A53.77 million) in China.

Transformers, which was released in China with more than 500 copies, will also get an IMAX screening at five theatres starting Tuesday.

Zhang denied a report in the Ming Pao Weekly magazine over the weekend that China's government banned media coverage of Transformers and its box office earnings when it neared the 200 million yuan ($A30.25 million) mark.

"How could it do so well at the box office without publicity?" he said.

China carefully screens media content and only allows in about 20 foreign movies a year, although that quota can be bypassed through co-productions with local companies.

Regulators have also tried to maximise revenue for Chinese studios by banning foreign films from theatres during holidays and school vacations, when audiences are biggest.

China's box office is still small compared to the US.

A movie making tens of millions of US dollars in China is considered a major hit while a big hit in the US can rake in several hundred million domestically.


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