‘Iron Man 3’ Dethroned By Donnie Yen’s ‘The Monkey King’ In China

Iron Man 3 no longer rules the world of IMAX in China.

Although Marvel’s hit superhero sequel once held the title as the most successful IMAX release in the world’s second-largest film market, a locally-produced fantasy managed to crush its record by several million. Dog Bite Dog and Motorway director Pou-Soi Cheang’s The Monkey King now holds that particular title.

Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 earned approximately $1.5 million when it hit IMAX screens in China last year. However, fans flocked to see Chinese stars Donnie Yen, Chow Yun-Fat, and Aaron Kwok in the fantasy about a Buddhist monk’s journey to acquire religious texts in India.

The Monkey King took in an impressive $4.5 million from moviegoers who didn’t mind paying a little extra to experience the flick on the big screen.

During its four days in theaters, Pou-Soi Cheang’s fantasy earned $64.3 million from audiences. The film also beat the opening-day record set by Iron Man 3 by collecting $20 million in receipts.

“We’d like to congratulate our partners, Filmko Pictures and China Film Group, on making such a spectacular, action-fueled film that resonates so well with audiences,” IMAX CEO Greg Foster said in a recent statement.

The box office hit is the latest motion picture based on the Monkey King legend. Shaolin Soccer director Stephen Chow crafted the over-the-top adventure Journey to the West last year. The film made around $213 million in China before leaving theaters.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Lunar New Year helped The Monkey King best Iron Man 3 at the box office. Although the country is presently the second-largest film market in the world, moviegoers in China help the industry post Hollywood-style numbers during the holiday.

However, don’t start feeling too bad for the folks at Marvel just because they lost the IMAX record in China. Iron Man 3 was one of the highest-grossing films of 2013, earning a staggering $409 million in North America alone.

The sequel also pulled together $806 million from foreign markets, pushing its worldwide total to an extremely healthy $1.2 billion. However, it’s still unclear if the boys and girls at Marvel Studios plan to continue the character’s cinematic adventures with Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role.

“I would really hate for someone else to think they could step into my shoes. I know things are looking like that they could go on for a long while. As usual in my book, it’s all about quality control and delivering a product that you can have this kind of reaction to. If they keep doing that, maybe I’ll keep showing up,” the actor previously explained.

Are you surprised that director Pou-Soi Cheang’s The Monkey King dethroned the Iron Man 3 IMAX record in China?