Ni hao, Hollywood!

By Liu Wei ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-22 07:52:36

Ni hao, Hollywood!

A scene from Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron's space epic Gravity. Provided to China Daily

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The filmmaker behind Gravity didn't need to splice in Chinese elements, because they were naturally in place, he tells Liu Wei.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron insists that the ending of his space epic Gravity was not deliberately made to please audiences in the fastest-growing film market in the world.

Gravity, which has captured a phenomenal worldwide box office of $500 million since its North American release on Nov 4, premiered in China on Nov 19. The opening-day takings were 32 million yuan ($5.1 million), a bit less than the first-day performance of Thor 2, which grossed 40 million yuan.

The film follows two American astronauts, played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, when they tumble in space after their shuttle is hit by space debris. Bullock's character at last finds refuge in the Chinese space station Tiangong and returns to Earth by China's Shenzhou capsule.

"When we were mapping the story, we had to base it upon elements in space at that time," he says. "We had Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, Tiangong and Shenzhou. That's what was in space, and this is way before China became sexy for the Hollywood box office."

Cuaron drafted the story of Gravity around 2008, when China's yearly box office was only 4.3 billion yuan, but the country's film market has seen a stunning growth ever since. Gross taking in 2012 was 17 billion yuan, second only to the United States.

The 2013 box office has reached 18 billion yuan already, making China the most important overseas territory for Hollywood.


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