China Box Office: ‘Bourne’ Tops Weekend but ‘Ice Age’ Rising

  • Fifth in the spy film franchise with Matt Damon as the titular anti-hero, raked in $49.8 M in six days
  • ‘Bourne’ might have done better had its poorly executed 3D release not soured the audience
  • Fifth ‘Ice Age’ film caught up to ‘Bourne’ by Sunday night and crept ahead by Monday

A young Chinese Ice Age fan hugs a giant plush acorn. (Courtesy Ice Age Weibo)

Universal Pictures’ Jason Bourne narrowly edged out 20th Century Fox’s Ice Age: Collision Course to capture first place at China’s box office this weekend.

The fifth installment in the spy franchise and a return for Matt Damon as the titular anti-hero, raked in RMB 329 million ($49.8 million) through six days of release according to Shanghai consulting firm Artisan Gateway — Universal reported a slightly softer $49.3 million — and has already outgrossed the RMB 213 million ($34.1 million) The Bourne Legacy totaled in 2012.

Bourne‘’s seemingly robust performance came amid complaints from Chinese moviegoers surrounding the film’s poorly-executed 3D release.

Universal and local distributors CFG and Huaxia opted to screen director Paul Greengrass’ action film in an “exclusive” 3D-only version, but ticket buyers were left peeved after shelling out extra cash for what essentially turned out to be a nauseating cinematic experience. It seems that Greengrass’ signature shaky hand-held camerawork and frenetic jump cut editing didn’t translate well to an added dimension, and reports of moviegoers queuing outside of restrooms to vomit and calling for a boycott flooded social media.

Later in the week the controversy was quelled somewhat when Universal responded by adding 2D screenings in most Chinese cities, but the damage was done. Compared to other recent Tuesday releases, such as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Fri. +18%, Sat. +68%) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (Fri. +37%, Sat. +88%), Jason Bourne’s box office jumps on its first Friday and Saturday were just 13% and 43% respectively.

Picking up some of the slack, Ice Age: Collision Course, also a fifth installment, albeit in a kiddie animation series, flew to a six-day total of RMB 274 million ($41.6 million) according to Artisan Gateway, or $42.5 million according to Fox. Increased weekend business helped ‘Collision Course‘ to overtake ‘Bourne‘ on Sunday and early estimates for Monday put the animation ahead.

Paramount’s Star Trek Beyond beams into Chinese cinemas next Friday, and both ‘Bourne‘ and ‘Collision Course‘ will feel the pressure. ‘Collision Course‘ will end its run nearing RMB 500 million ($75 million) while Jason Bourne will finish with at most RMB 550 million ($82 million). Had Universal not bungled its release, $100 million+ could have been on the table.