- Line Walker leads the weakest box office weekend since mid-June.
- Import He Is a Dragon could become China’s best-selling Russian film ever.
- Jason Bourne and Ice Age: Collision Course both open on Tuesday, August 23 and could revive China’s box office fortunes.
The big-screen adaptation of TVB’s production Line Walker repeated in the top spot for a second weekend as China’s anemic summer box office slipped to its lowest weekend total since mid-June.
Line Walker (使徒行者), a HK-China co-production, dipped just 38 percent in its sophomore frame for a weekend tally of RMB 112 million (US$16.9 million) and has now grossed RMB 481 million ($72.3 million) in 11 days of release. The performance is a rare bright spot in a summer dominated by domestic films meeting steep second-weekend drops due to poor word of mouth.
Summer 2016 has also seen a slight resurgence in Hong Kong-produced crime thrillers, a genre that has fallen out of favor among Chinese mainland moviegoers in recent years. Cold War 2 (寒战2), released in early July, grossed RMB 678 million ($101.2 million).
Following Line Walker in second place is animated newcomer and awkwardly titled New Happy Dad and Son 2: The Instant Genius (新大头儿子和小头爸爸2一日成才), which debuted with RMB 54 million ($8.2 million). The film is a 3D adaptation of a popular 90’s television series in which a “small-headed father” imparts valuable paternal wisdom to his precocious, but mischievous “large-headed son.”
He Is A Dragon (他是龙), a rare Russian import, took third place this weekend with RMB 45.3 million ($6.8 million). The fantasy film flopped domestically, but became a viral hit with Chinese netizens after a pirated version hit websites earlier this year, mostly thanks to the presence of young heartthrob and model Matvey Lykov.
Lykov became active on Weibo after the unexpected success and has built up an impressive following of Chinese fans in a mere six months on the service. He also toured several cities in China before the official release last Friday.
Chinese distributor YL Pictures (永乐影业) promptly picked up the rights to He Is A Dragon in April and it is now on the way to becoming the highest-grossing Russian film of all-time in China, surpassing Stalingrad’s RMB 73.2 million total in 2013.
Jason Bourne and Ice Age: Collision Course both open on Tuesday, August 23, and will attempt to add some much-needed energy into the Chinese market to close out the summer movie season. CFI will have preliminary box office results in our Thursday article.