China Box Office: ’Apocalypse’ Starts Big but ‘Warcraft’ Opening will Clip its Wings

  • Fox sequel grossed $58.5M in 3-day opening, 56% more than 2014 opening of Days of Future Past
  • CFI predicts Apocalyse will top out at $110 million due to competition pressure from Warcraft
  • Through The Looking Glass took second place with $6.6M, down 75% from its lackluster late-May premiere
A Chinese poster image for “X-Men: Apocalypse” (MTime)

A Chinese poster image for “X-Men: Apocalypse” (MTime)

After two months of slowing growth, the Chinese box office is finally back on track for a big month after the weekend’s strong debut of X-Men: Apocalypse. The franchise film from 20th Century Fox scored a three-day opening of RMB 384 million ($58.5 million), 56% bigger than 2014 opening day of its predecessor, Days of Future Past.

When compared with other recent superhero films, Apocalypse narrowly outpaced Batman v Superman’s debut back in March ($57.1 million), but stronger word of mouth should carry Apocalypse over $100 million, a feat the critically maligned DC superhero film couldn’t even accomplish.

Unfortunately for the mutants of Apocalypse, the orcs of Legendary Entertainment’s Warcraft will come rumbling through Mainland theaters on Wednesday, bringing down the axe on what might otherwise potentially have been an impressive RMB 1 billion run ($153 million). Had Fox pushed for a day-and-date release one week earlier against Disney’s lowly Alice Through The Looking Glass (just $49.5 million through 10 days of release), Apocalypse more than likely would have outgrossed Days of Future Past, but now RMB 700 million ($110 million) is the gross ceiling we’re predicting.

Apocalypse accounted for 80% of the weekend’s total ticket sales, which meant there was little room in which holdovers could perform. Through The Looking Glass took second place with RMB 43.2 million ($6.6 million), a disappointing 75% drop from its already-lackluster opening weekend at the end of May. Still, the China run for Disney’s live-action sequel is keeping pace with North America’s $50.7 million cumulative total.

Angry Birds alighted a little more gently this weekend, falling 59% to RMB 37.6 million ($5.7 million) on its third weekend in theaters. The Sony cartoon financed by game developer Rovio Entertainment saw a boost on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, in the run up to China’s June 1 celebration of International Children’s Day. Ticket sales are up to RMB 470.6 million ($71.7 million) to date.

Finally, Captain America: Civil War ended its month-long run on Sunday with RMB 1.246 billion ($190 million). The Marvel sequel currently sits as the second highest-grossing imported film of the year behind Disney hit Zootopia, but with the release of Warcraft looming, Disney will likely be knocked from atop its perch.

Pre-sales for Warcraft’s opening day on Wednesday have already hit a staggering RMB 95.2 million ($14.5 million). CFI will be tracking this behemoth closely and we will have box office updates later in the week.