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'Transformers' Earning More in China Than U.S.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is a bigger hit in China than it is in the United States, according to numbers released Tuesday by China Movie Media Group, a partner in the production.

So far the film has made $134.5 million in the People's Republic in its first five days of release compared with $121 million domestically after five days in theaters. The film brought in $10.5 million Stateside on Monday and $10.4 million on Tuesday, so it's doubtful it will match those figures after Wednesday's grosses are tallied.

Moreover, the film has now shattered the record set by a China-Hong Kong production, "The Monkey King," which grossed $133 million over 11 days, and it has done it in half the time.

China Movie Media Group said "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is on track to surpass "Avatar's" record $217.7 million haul from the country.

It's almost unheard of for a Hollywood film of this size and scale to surpass its Stateside gross in a foreign country, particularly a fiercely protectionist market such as China, which often takes steps to safeguard its local productions by giving foreign films unpalatable release slots.

However, Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the franchise, took great pains to incorporate Chinese elements into the film -- shooting parts of the picture there, casting Chinese star Li Bingbing in a key role and partnering with local companies to help promote the film.

China Movie Media Group, the country's largest distributor and film promoter, collaborated for the first time with a U.S. studio, providing ad, online ticketing and other forms of support.

The previous "Transformers" film grossed roughly $165 million in China.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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