China Box Office Weekend Actuals: Records Fall as China's Box Office Soars

on July 20, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

After an uncharacteristically slow start to the summer season, China's booming box office soared to new heights this weekend earning a record ¥1.13 billion in Friday-Sunday ticket sales ($182 million), and creaming the previous weekly (Mon-Sun) box office record set over this year's Chinese New Year period by grossing ¥1.76 billion ($283 million). In a rare occurrence, Chinese moviegoers were treated to three well-reviewed and highly-praised domestic films, all of which smashed records. 

Monster Hunt (捉妖记), China's first homegrown live-action/CGI hybrid, took first place at both the Chinese box office and the international box office this weekend with $79.7 million from ~168,000 showtimes and has grossed $107.4 million since opening on Thursday. That's the highest 3-day and 4-day opening ever for a local film. In addition, Monster Hunt's opening Thursday total of $27.7 million became the highest opening day gross for a Chinese language film in history, surpassing The Monkey King's $20.75 million from 1/31/14. The family friendly action/adventure film helmed by Shrek's animation supervisor Raman Hui also became the first domestic film ever to gross more than ¥100 million ($16.1 million) on four consecutive days. 

In a close second at both the overseas and Chinese box office, superhero spoof Jianbing Man (煎饼侠) directed by online personality Da Peng (大鹏) grossed $68.7 million including midnight and preview screenings from ~179,000 showtimes. The comedy also snatched the record for the highest-grossing opening day for a 2D film from last week's Tiny Times 4.0 by scoring $22.4 million on Friday. Jianbing Man opens in select US cities this Friday through Magnum Films.

Homegrown 3D animation Monkey King: Hero Is Back (西游记之大圣归来) had an incredible second weekend, jumping 84% behind amazing word of mouth to $25.5 million from just ~75,000 showtimes and a 10-day total of $75 million. Monkey already became the Mainland's highest-grossing local animation on Thursday, surpassing this year's Bonnie Bears 2 ($47 million), and will pass Kung Fu Panda 2 ($99.3 million) sometime next weekend to become #1 on the all-time animation list. The success of both Monster Hunt and Monkey King: Hero Is Back is an encouraging sign for China's local animation industry which has always lagged behind Hollywood's engaging plotlines and technically superior computer animation.

Britain's stop action animated feature from Aardman Animations Shaun The Sheep held its own in the face of stiff family-friendly competition, earning a strong $4.2 million from ~27,000 screenings.

In fifth and sixth place, last weekend's box office leaders and universally panned youth romance pics Tiny Times 4.0 and Forever Young both plummeted 95% to gross $2.4 million and $2.0 million respectively. Historically, these types of movies have had no staying power since diehard fans show up in huge numbers on opening weekend, but casual filmgoers avoid them at all costs. Therefore, Tiny Times 4.0 is trying to woo back fans for a second viewing this week with a 36 minute behind-the-scenes documentary tacked on to the end of the [2 hour] film.

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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Tags: Monk Comes Down The Mountain, Forever Young, Tiny Times 4.0, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Monkey King: Hero is Back, Jianbing Man, Monster Hunt, China Box Office

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