China Box Office: ‘Cold War 2’ Tops Sales for 2nd Week Amid July Lull

  • Half way through July, ticket sales totaled only RMB 2.5 billion, down 14% from July 2015
  • Hong Kong crime thriller Cold War 2 blew past RMB 500 million at the box office
  • Huayi’s When Larry Met Mary grossed RMB 105 million unable to fend off critics 

Hong Kong crime thriller ‘Cold War 2’ blew past RMB 500 million at the Chinese box office this weekend.

A slew of new local-language releases failed to gain traction at the Chinese box office this weekend as Hong Kong crime thriller Cold War 2 repeated in first place for a second consecutive weekend.

The sequel starring Hong Kong mainstays Chow Yun-fat, Aaron Kwok, and Tony Leung fell a steep 62% from its opening weekend business, but still managed to hang on to the top spot with RMB 111 million ($16.5 million) for the three-day weekend. That brings Cold War 2’s 10-day total to an impressive RMB 572 million ($88.3 million).

In second place, newcomer When Larry Met Mary debuted poorly with RMB 105 million ($15.7 million). The romantic comedy from major Chinese distributor Huayi Brothers premiered atop the charts on Friday but couldn’t fend off poor word of mouth over the weekend.

July is often seen as a bumper crop for Chinese language films. The combination of school holidays and a release schedule saturated with films tailored toward local tastes means the month of July is the hottest extended moviegoing period on the Chinese calendar.

Three blockbuster domestic productions — Monster Hunt, Jianbing Man, and Monkey King: Hero Is Back — helped last July rack up RMB 5.5 billion ($820 million), the highest monthly total in history at the time.

This July is shaping up very differently. As of Monday, ticket sales in July totaled only RMB 2.5 billion, down 14% compared to the same period in July 2015. With limited prospects for a breakout hit throughout the rest of the month, the drop-off will only worsen.

New releases for the upcoming week include Warner Bros’ The Legend of Tarzan opening Tuesday, and the action-comedy Skiptrace starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville and the Bollywood blockbuster Baahubali: The Beginning both opening Friday, July 22.