China Box Office: ‘Kong’ Still Rules Jungle

For the first time in fifty days, Hollywood imports lost hold of the daily box office crown as local crime thriller The Devotion of Suspect X debuted in first place on Friday. Yet Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island quickly re-established its dominance on Saturday, and looks to enjoy an easy holiday victory when the three-day Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Festival ends on Tuesday.

Through the end of Sunday, day one of Qingming, Kong had amassed an impressive RMB 805 million ($116.8 million), exclusive of online ticketing fees. The second installment in the Legendary-produced/Warner Bros.-distributed “MonsterVerse” cinematic universe entered China as a revenue-sharing import, but production investment from internet giant Tencent and a local marketing boost from Legendary’s owner Wanda, has provided Kong with a home field advantage most Hollywood imports would salivate over.

As with all public Chinese holidays, Qingming is reserved for local productions, and this year’s festival saw three separate action films given wide releases.

Leading the way, The Devotion of Suspect X, a localized adaptation of a popular Japanese novel that has served as the basis for separate Japanese and Korean films, posted a three-day RMB 150 million ($21.8 million) debut. The two remaining titles — Extraordinary Mission, a cheap action knockoff of last summer’s surprise hit Operation Mekong and The Missing, starring box-office queen Bai Baihe — failed to connect significantly with holiday moviegoers, grossing just RMB 55 million ($8.0 million) and RMB 42 million ($6.0 million) respectively through Sunday.

The jury’s still out, however, and CFI will have a complete Qingming holiday box office report on Tuesday with updated numbers and further analysis.