The Great Haul of China - How Hollywood's blockbuster flops are being saved by Asian cinemagoers

But are some of these films even worth saving?

Independence Day, Trailer, Resurgence, Five minutes, teasers, spoiler,

Jeff Goldblum and Liam Hemsworth star in the forthcoming film, expected to be a bigger blockbuster than the original [YouTube]

Over the weekend, one of the biggest blockbusters of the year - Independence Day: Resurgence - was released in cinemas around the world, to a mostly muted response.

The $155m production (discounting costs for promotion and publicity) was anticipating a $50-$80m opening weekend in the US box office, but once all the tickets sales had been added up, it managed to make barely $41 million.

Not even accounting for inflation, or additional ticket sales costs for the likes of 3D or IMAX tickets, the movie couldn't match the $50m opening weekend of the 1996 original.

Normally, that would spell doom for a production with costs of that size, except that Independence Day: Resurgence also made $102.1 million in the other international markets − with $37.3 million coming from China alone.

There is, perhaps, some cynical reasoning to be found behind the movie's otherwise unaccountable popularity there: one of the movie's new cast additions is hugely famous Chinese model and actress Angelababy, and one of the movie's biggest set-pieces sees the alien mothership lay waste to famous Asian landmarks.

Over the same weekend, Now You See Me 2 opened in Chinese cinemas, and amassed even more money than the massive blockbuster, making $43.3 million, almost double what it made in US cinemas on it's opening weekend there.

Chinese-American director Jon M Chu set the action almost entirely in the Chinese city of Macau, and while the film is still a way off from the original's overall haul of $351 million, in China the movie has already made twice in three days what the original made in its entire run.

All of these results still pale in comparison to the reaction to Warcraft, however. The $160 million production opened on June 10th in the States to a paltry $24 million, and now 17 days later, has still only managed to make $43m. Under normal circumstances, the movie would be declared a complete and total flop and Hollywood would movie on. 

Take a look at the Chinese box office results, though: an opening weekend of $65m, and currently just shy of $205m in total. That is almost half of the film's running total of $412 million so far, which has pushed the production out of the red and into the black.

While the computer game the movie is based on is very popular in China, its also important to note that the film's production company Legendary Pictures brought on board Chinese companies like Tencent and Huayi Brothers Media as financial partners, who helped tie up large number of brand sponsorship deals, promotional partnerships, and China-specific merchandising, while Legendary Pictures themselves were recently purchased outright by Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group for $3.5bn.

One thing that all of these movies, aside from having some kind of involvement with China and, perhaps as a result, do remarkably well in the box office there, is that they are all critical failures: Independence Day: Resurgence scored 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, the exact same score as Now You See Me 2, while Warcraft did even worse, with just 30%.

In China, there are some government-set sanctions regarding their cinema imports, where the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (or more commonly known as SARFT) sets legislation which means no fewer than 50% of Chinese box office is attributed to Chinese movies.

This balance is kept in place by not allowing any more than 34 foreign movies to be screened per year - almost all of which are the biggest of big blockbusters - as well as providing financial incentives to local cinemas that prioritise home-grown movies, and a 60-day foreign movie blackout period that takes place during summer, aka peak-Hollywood blockbuster season.

There have already been reactions to the Chinese market, with mega-blockbusters like Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War moving out of the usual summer slots for release dates in March and April, respectively. Also, the first Hollywood movie that lands after the blackout period usually benefits from the imposed blockbuster drought, which is what happened in the case of Terminator: Genisys last year. Costing $155m, it didn't even make it to $90 million in the States and the proposed sequels were scrapped. Then it was finally released in China, where it suddenly made an extra $113 million, and talk of the sequels were back on. And in case you were wondering, Terminator: Genisys scored 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Some filmmakers have used this new market to the ultimate advantage, with the best case in point being Michael Bay's Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Perfect timing for the release date, with Paramount entering a co-production deal with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises, with key scenes filmed in China and Hong Kong, and Chinese superstar Li Bingbing among the cast. It resulted in $319m at the Chinese box office (compared to just $245m at the US box office), and - at the time - the highest-grossing movie in Chinese history.

It has since been surpassed by Furious 7 ($391m in China alone), which was also a co-production, this time with China Film Group Corporation, and since then, two Chinese films have overtaken them both: The Mermaid ($527m) and Monster Hunt ($393m), both of which used the blackout periods to their strategic release advantage.

Mike Ellis, the head of the Asia Pacific operations of the Motion Picture Association of America, told the LA Times that he believes China will be the world's biggest movie market by 2017, with the rapid growth of multiplexes resulting in 15 new cinema screens being added every single day.

With this new market to take part in, it's no wonder that Hollywood and movie-makers all over the world want to make the most of it. But aside from Furious 7, all that it has resulted in are a number of sub-par blockbusters making their money back, and possibly resulting in generally unwanted sequels. The Chinese movie market is one of great power, so here's hoping movie-makers don't just use it as a money-maker.