“After Earth” blows up the box office — in China

This item from The Hollywood Reporter points to where Hollywood has its eyes these days, when planning, casting and executing big movies.

Asia. China. Where they’re building theaters and expanding audience by the hour. It’s the real growth market.

So audiences in North America may turn their backs on Will Smith and his insufferable son. Critics may hunt for Scientology ethos in the messages of the movie and sniff at the illogic, the performances, what have you.

But will it sell in China? That’s the important thing. It’s why we see more Chinese stories, fewer Chinese villains and more Asian sidekicks, leads or what have you.

“After Earth” opened big in China — $13.8 million. The day will come, when ticket prices are closer to US and European levels, and a vastly enlarged collection of screens, that China is the first and foremost consideration, when a movie like “Pacific Rim” is worth the obscene investment just because market research says it’ll play in Korea, Thailand, Japan and China.

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