The Hollywood Reporter Clarence Tsui February 6, 2013
Despite distributors’ decision to cut the film by 40 minutes, the drama has beaten “Skyfall” every day since its release.
While released to lukewarm reviews around the world, Cloud Atlas has been received warmly by Chinese audiences since its Thursday release, with the film’s box office revenue in the country on track to cross the benchmark 100 million yuan ($16 million) mark mid-week.
According to figures released on Weibo’s Chinese-language portal — one of the most authoritative sources of box office information in China — Cloud Atlas had grossed $15.2 million (95 million yuan) in ticket sales by Tuesday.
At that rate, the film, which stars Chinese actress Zhou Xun in a supporting role and was co-produced by the Beijing-based Dreams of the Dragon Pictures, was expected to see its earnings reach the nine-digit figures on Wednesday.
Cloud Atlas has recorded better daily performances at the Chinese box office than Skyfall for the past week. The James Bond film, which opened in the country on Jan. 21, has already made $53.7 million (335 million yuan) in the country, but ticket sales have tailed off significantly during the past week.
On Tuesday, it took in $1.3 million (8 million yuan), compared with Cloud Atlas’ $2.1 million (13 million).
Cloud Atlas’ success in China has probably provided its directors — Andy and Lana Wachowskiand Tom Tykwer — some relief, given the disappointing returns the film generated in other international markets. With its total gross standing at about $85.2 million — a number that excludes its revenue in China — the project has yet to recoup its $102 million budget.
The film’s Chinese release was also dogged by the revelation that Dreams of the Dragon, which distributes the film in China, has cut 40 minutes of the 171-minute film to “adhere to censors’ regulations” as well as to appeal to local audiences looking for “a popcorn movie.”
Removed from the original are glimpses of nudity, as well as a brief scene involving a cyborg waitress in a cafe in 22nd century Korea having sex with her supervisor.
Both Cloud Atlas and Skyfall are expected to make way for the slate of domestic blockbusters to be released this week ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year holidays, with the key release beingJTTW, Stephen Chow Sing-chi’s adaptation of the classic Chinese fantastical novel “Journey to the West.”