Disney's Brilliant Chinese Surrender

Like most of the world, China loves Iron Man 3. According to Chinese film website mtime.com, Marvel's Armored Avenger generated $21.1 million in box office receipts during its debut there, a new record.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a hit both for Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIA  ) Paramount Pictures and licensor Hasbro, held the previous record with $17.9 million during its 2011 Chinese debut, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dark of the Moon amassed $1.12 billion in worldwide receipts over 15 weeks in theaters. China accounted for more than $145 million of that total, according to Box Office Mojo. That Iron Man 3 is already tracking ahead of both Marvel's The Avengers worldwide and Hasbro's giant robots in China speaks well for Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) chances to earn at least $1 billion from the film.

Source: mtime.com.

Interestingly, the record comes amid some local fans expressing disappointment at portions of the film. Disney cut a specific version of Iron Man 3 for Chinese audiences that includes three minutes of, among other things, product placements.

According to THR, a character named Dr. Wu at one point consumes a carton of Gu Li Duo, a milk product that typically sells for $1 or less in convenience stores across mainland China. At least one blogger reacted with mocking praise about the ads being the "shining lights" of the film.

Perhaps. Or maybe, in co-producing the Chinese cut of Iron Man 3 with Beijing's DMG Entertainment, the House of Mouse chose to appease censors rather than battle them, as Google did before fleeing China in 2010.

Either way, surrendering to baser tastes has rarely looked so brilliant.

Will you see Iron Man 3 this weekend? Or if you've seen it already, what did you think of the film? Please leave leave a comment to let us know what you think, and whether you'd buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices.

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