China Box Office: ‘Angry Birds’ Leads, but Fails to Gain Altitude in Slower Q2

  • With $30M debut, Sony’s film of once-popular Rovio game ranks No. 3 among animated openings 
  • China’s 2016 box office hit RMB 20 billion ($3.05B) on Saturday, 37 days quicker than last year
  • After a blistering Q1, up 50% from Q1 2015, growth has slowed to just 23% over the same date last year

Sony Pictures’ and Rovio Entertainment’s The Angry Birds Movie fluttered rather than soared to a first place finish at the Chinese box office this past weekend, taking off with RMB 197 million ($30 million).

The debut came right in line with CFI’s predictions, but despite achieving the third-highest China opening for an animated film behind Kung Fu Panda 3 (RMB 339 million in three days) and Stand by Me Doraemon (RMB 238 million in four days), Angry Birds was unable to re-energize a relatively stagnant market.

On Saturday, China’s 2016 annual box office total hit RMB 20 billion ($3.05 billion), achieving that milestone 37 days quicker than last year. However, after a blistering first quarter nearly 50% bigger than 2015, the market’s blistering growth has slowed to 23% over the same point in the calendar one year earlier.

Domestic Chinese films currently account for 63.5% of box office revenue so far this year, but with Hollywood’s Alice Through The Looking Glass (May 27), X-Men Apocalypse (June 3), Warcraft (June 8), Finding Dory (June 17), Independence Day: Resurrection (June 24) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (July 2) all set for release over the next six weeks, the scales will tip in favor of imported films before the State Administration of Print Publications Radio Film and Television (SAPPRFT) imposes its annual import blackout period during July and August.

In second place, ticket sales for Captain America: Civil War fell 62% from the week before to RMB 79 million ($12M). Disney’s tentpole superhero film has grossed a respectable $178.3 million in 17 days in Chinese theaters, but its final tally still will come in behind many analysts’ expectations. The film was unable to break out with a general audience despite positive word of mouth, signaling Marvel may have difficulty expanding beyond its existing fanbase with future installments.

In third place, Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant scored a disappointing RMB 64.4 million ($9.9M) debut, slightly exceeding its predecessor’s $9.2 million opening last year. The young adult franchise has a tiny, but steady fanbase in China when compared with North America, where the once popular series continues to bleed money. One more installment is planned for July 2017.