• Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2 (Photo : Movieclips Trailer/YouTube)

Despite some big Hollywood movies flopping in China, film producers are still lining up and hoping to get one of the 34 annual slots given by Chinese film import regulators yearly. It’s because Chinese audience could spell success for a foreign film if the movie hits in China.

Hunan TV Deal

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One such film that has Chinese moviegoers to thank for is Liongate’s “Now You See Me 2” which grossed $335 million on its worldwide exhibition. While the movie earned $65 million in the U.S., in China, its box-office receipt was $97 million, confirming that China, the second-largest movie market in the world, is important to a film’s income.

Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lionsgate, in a conference call on Wednesday when the studio reported its third quarter earnings, attributed more than 20 percent of the studio’s total international box office to China, The Wrap reported. It helped that Lionsgate inked in 2015 a co-financing agreement with Hunan TV.

China Showing Boosts Box-Office Results

As a result of the agreement, the studio’s World War II movie starring Mel Gibson, “Hackshaw Ridge” earned $62 million when shown in China which almost equaled its $66 million domestic box-office result. Another Lionsgate film, “Gods of Egypt,” flopped in the U.S. with earnings of only $31 million, but earned another $36 million in China.

Feltheimer is confident that Lionsgate would duplicate the feat in China when “La La Land” debuts on Feb. 14. However, movie observers are wary if a western musical would be a hit among Chinese audience.

An American heist thriller movie, “Now You See Me 2” was directed by Jon Chu and written by Ed Solomon. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, the movie is a sequel to the 2013 film with the same title which follows the Four Horsemen who surface again and forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off heist that seems impossible to succeed.