For the past two weeks, Iron Man 3 has been a box-office juggernaut that continues to siphon money from moviegoers across the globe. The third installment of the Marvel/Disney spectacle hasn’t lost much momentum, even amidst stiff competition from The Great Gatsby and Star Trek Into Darkness, all of which are in 3D. Even with a strong opening in China, and grossing over $1 billion worldwide, the Chinese box-office has found a new object of cinematic desire: American Dreams in China.
Spanning from the 1980s to the early 2000s, American Dreams in China (directed by Peter Chan) follows three friends as they attempt to build a school in China that teaches English. The main characters (Cheng, Meng, and Wang) have ambitions to go to America to find their fortune, but realize that it isn’t possible due to relationship difficulties and being unable to attain a study visa. When all three hit bottom, they team up to co-found New Dream, a school for Chinese citizens who want to learn English. As it is with most rags-to-riches stories, success comes with a price, and the three risk being torn apart by their business endeavor. It is alleged that American Dreams is based off of a true story, which may have contributed to its success.
While Iron Man 3 holds steady after earning $13.5 million last week in China, American Dreams raked in more than $16.3 million since it opened on May 17. If that doesn’t sound like a major accomplishment, it took Oblivion over a week to earn the same amount of money during its run. According to speculation in the Chinese film industry, American Dreams is expected to outperform Iron Man 3 in the Chinese mainland. While China has shown a fondness for Hollywood blockbusters, the country has a newfound affinity for their domestic films. For some perspective on the matter, the top two grossing films of all time in China are Avatar and Lost In Thailand.