Despite their stringent censorship laws, the Chinese love movies. In fact, they are one of the biggest consumers of movies outside of the United States, and their films industry is one of the fastest growing. Because of this, many American studios prioritize Chinese audiences, as a film's performance there could be the difference between a success or a flop. Studios have even gone as far as to cater to China, which has resulted in many movies taking place there, and even staring major Chinese actors and actresses.
As a result of all of this, movies that were deemed to be flops here in America have gone on to be major successes in Chinese theaters. Here are 10 movies that did better there than stateside.
10 Now You See Me 2
The sequel to the 2013 cult hit, Now You Se Me 2 bombed when it was released three years later. The movie lacked the magic and the high stakes of the original. Luck just wasn't on their side this time.
The film would only muster around $65 million in the states, making the franchise's future all the more uncertain. However, the Chinese loved it, as evidenced by the $97 million it made there. The fact that much of the movie took place in China probably helped seal the deal for audience members.
Remember Geostorm? No? It's okay, because most people forgot it existed before it came out. The natural disaster thriller tanked when it was released in late 2017, coughing up just $33 million domestically.
Audiences just failed to connect with the Day After Tomorrow esque flick, and the film was buried beneath a slew in better movies. But something must have clicked with the Chinese, who gave the movie a $65 million hull. That wasn't quite enough to help push the film to success, but it still shows how much the Chinese love apocalyptic films.
8 Transformers: The Last Knight
One year before Bumblebee encouraged fans to keep the faith, the Transformers franchise took its biggest hit yet with The Last Knight. Reviews were scathing, but it was the box office returns that proved to be the most damming.
The movie performed below expectations in the US, prompting Paramount to subtlety reboot the franchise with the Bumblebee solo movie. But as we'll come to see in this list, the Chinese love giant robots more than Americans. The movie made over $228 million in China, almost a hundred million more than what it made in the states.
7 Pacific Rim: Uprising
The sequel to Guillermo del Toro's ode to Japanese monster flicks, Pacific Rim: Uprising failed to reach the heights of its predecessor. Fans of the original hated it, and it was mauled by critics upon its release.
The movie ended up raking in only $59 million in America and was quickly forgotten. But that didn't stop the Chinese from eating it up, leading Uprising to make just under $100 million.
The Dwaine Jonson vehicle about a terror attack at the world's tallest building, Skyscraper saw a softer than expected reception domestically. With mixed reviews and a $65 million hull, the movie finished third in its first weekend.
China was a little more kind to the Rock, however, as the movie made a little over $98 million there. It probably helped that the movie took place entirely in China, with a number of scenes focusing on the Chinese authorities. See? Pandering does pay off.
Like we said, the Chinese love the Rock. The adaptation to the side-scrolling video game of the same name, Rampage was a hit with audiences and critics. It's largely seen as the best film adaptation of a video game thus far, and China agreed.
The movie made $156 million in China, over fifty million more than in the US. Rampage performed better in China than anywhere else, which is really helpful when trying to gauge what audiences there like. So far, we know that they like giant monsters, buildings getting destroyed, and the Rock. Keep that in mind, future directors!
The film adaptation to the fantasy strategy game, Warcraft was doomed from the start. Despite being directed by indie darling Duncan Jones, skepticism on the behalf of the fandom put the film in a difficult position. In the end, American audiences didn't exactly flock to see Warcraft, which didn't even crack $50 million when it was released.
That's a far cry from China, where the movie went on to make a whopping $213 million, which was more than what Star Wars: The Force Awakens made there a year prior. Turns out, there are quite a few Warcraft devotees in China who, after playing World of Warcraft for over a decade, weren't going to let pessimism taint their excitement.
3 Terminator: Genisys
The Terminator franchise has taken more hits than the T-800 throughout the series. While the first two installments are considered masterpieces of science fiction, the sequels that followed are underwhelming, to say the least.
The lowest point in the series came in 2015, when Paramount attempted a soft reboot of the series with Genisys. Sadly, the movie was a dud, earning horrible reviews and failing to break the $100 million threshold in the States. However, proving that the Chinese will embrace anything with robots, Genisys rocketed up to the top spot at their box office. The movie made $113 million in China, possibly due to Arnold Schwarzenegger's star power in the far east. For years, Schwarzenegger was a spokesperson for a number of popular products in Asia, and it's likely that this helped save Genisys from the scrap pit.
2 Transformers: Age of Extinction
The fourth movie in the Transformers series is often regarded as one of the worst. Even fans of the first three usually agree that the movie sucked, due to the lazy writing, bloated run time, and special effects that looked surprisingly unfinished. The movie actually made less than its predecessors in America, but it was still the highest grossing movie of 2014, all thanks to China.
Paramount pulled out all the stops to make the movie as China-friendly as possible. Almost 45 minutes of the film took place in China, and the film's positive depiction of the People's Liberation Army sure pleased Chinese moviegoers. It made $320 million in China alone, placing it among the highest grossing movies in the nation's history.
1 Pacific Rim
Fans of kaiju were awestruck by Pacific Rim when it stomped into theaters in 2013. Sadly, the movie was largely ignored by most American audiences, who chose the second Grown Ups movie (seriously!?) when it was released. Thankfully, China helped pull the movie out of the muck with a hefty $111 million hull.
So while American audiences may not have much love for giant monsters, at least we can count on China to keep the genre alive and kicking, and roaring, and stomping into the future.