China Box Office: Crime Thriller Leads Muted Weekend, ‘Pets’ Slow, Steady

  • Thriller Line Walker No. 1 in another muted summer weekend at Chinese cinemas.
  • Adapted from hit TVB series, film rode public praise to gross RMB 240 M ($36.4M) in 4 days.
  • The Secret Life of Pets hit $49.2M after 2 weeks but will likely fall short of Minions’ tally in 2015.

Three new releases including two Sino-Hong Kong co-productions landed atop the box office charts in another muted summer weekend at Chinese cinemas.

Crime thriller Line Walker (使徒行者), adapted from the hit TVB television series, rode a wave of public praise to take first place over the weekend with a four-day RMB 240 million total ($36.4 million) according to Shanghai film consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

Line Walker is distributed by Jiaying Pictures (嘉映影业), the production and distribution arm of Stellar Mega International (星美集团) which also owns China’s second largest cinema chain behind Wanda.

In second place, romantic film Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城), starring Angelababy and Jing Boran as young lovers brought together through online gaming, struggled to overcome mixed reviews from Chinese netizens and debuted under expectations with just RMB 122 million ($18.6 million).

The Sino-Hong Kong Republican Era martial arts co-production Call of Heroes (危城) debuted in third place with RMB 91 million ($13.8 million). “Heroes”’ opening surpassed the 2013 debut of director Benny Chan’s previous film, The White Storm (扫毒), by 6%, but it will have a difficult time beating “Storm”’s critical and commercial success—it was nominated for Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards and went on to gross $38.5 million on the Mainland.

Ticket sales for holdover film Time Raiders (盗墓笔记) fell a whopping 80% in its second weekend. The critically panned action-adventure film featuring young performers Jing Boran and Lu Han grossed RMB 87.3 million ($13.1 million) this past week to amass a 10-day total of RMB 841 million ($127.4 million). Time Raiders will continue to duke it out with Jackie Chan’s Skiptrace (currently RMB 883 million) for the title of summer 2016’s highest-grossing film, but neither will reach RMB 1 billion, a milestone that two domestic films reached in summer 2015.

Rounding out the top five, Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets reached RMB 325 million ($49.2 million) after two weeks in theaters. “Pets” also became the 2nd highest-grossing animated feature for Illumination in China, but will most likely fall short of the RMB 436 million total Minions tallied in 2015.