We’re not sure how we didn’t realize this until now, but the movie King Kong hit Shanghai theaters last weekend, and apparently it is doing quite well, earning US$371,747 in its first three days here. While near perfect King Kong DVDs are available on Shanghai’s streets (thank God for Oscar screeners) Shanghaiist suggests this is a movie that should be watched on the big screen. And the theater will likely have the volume turned up so loud you can’t hear all the mobile phones anyway.
King Kong is the first of either 20 or 260 foreign films to make their way to China this year. Confused? We are, too. According to this story, China “will import 260 movies this year,” up from an alleged 212 last year. The story also says that in 2005 China’s movie industry generated sales of US$248 million (and then the story veers awkwardly into a discussion of education spending and the 11th Five-Year Plan). But this Variety piece makes it very clear that China’s strict quota system limits foreign imports to 20 (or maybe 21) films per year. The story — worth a read — admits that China’s system is “riddled with exceptions” … but enough to account for a difference of 240 movies? Perhaps these are just a bunch of one-offs that show at our film festivals? If someone knows the answer, please fill us in. We sure don’t want to miss more great Hollywood offerings like these.