- Hong Kong crime thriller the first local language film to top China’s box office in more than two months
- Despite speculation about dissolution of foreign film import cap, four of the top five spots this weekend belonged to Chinese-language films
- Last weekend’s box office victor, Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 fell three spots to fourth place, losing 73% of its opening weekend business
Hong Kong crime thriller Cold War 2 became the first local-language film to top the Chinese box in more than two months after an impressive debut of RMB 298 million ($44.6 million) this weekend.
Even as Variety reported last week about a possible collapse of Chinese regulators’ long-practiced “Hollywood blackout month” (when imported films essentially are shut out of the market in favor of domestic films in July)—four of the top five spots this weekend belonged to Chinese-language films.
Cold War 2’s debut was a positive sign for the Hong Kong crime thriller genre in Mainland China which has fallen on hard times in recent years. The sequel outgrossed its predecessor’s entire run by 17% after just three days of release and is now on track to earn $90 million to $100 million.
Cold War 2 was the highest rated new release this weekend on Chinese social media sites, scoring 7.2/10 on movie fan web site Douban.
In second place, the highly-anticipated local animation Bigfish & Begonia, or Da Hai, grossed RMB 227 million ($34 million) this weekend. Da Hai’s 12-year journey from script to screen, in addition to its sumptuous visuals— reminiscent of Japanese auteur Hayao Miyazaki—clearly attracted a curious audience, but the majority of moviegoers and critics were left unimpressed by its thin story.
Hopes were high that Da Hai could smash last summer’s domestic animation box office champ Monkey King: Hero Is Back (RMB 956 million, $156 million), but poor word of mouth means this one is destined for a truncated run of around RMB 400 million.
In third place, the “youthful romance” film Never Gone took in RMB 178.6 million ($27.0 million) over the three-day weekend. Never Gone sits at a paltry 3.9/10 on Douban and it appears its flimsy connection to the highest-grossing film of all-time in the once-trendy genre (So Young, RMB 720 million / $114.7 million, in 2013) won’t save it from an embarrassing 90%+ drop next weekend. It didn’t appear to help that Never Gone was adapted from a novel by the same author whose book was the source material for So Young.
Last weekend’s box office victor, Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 fell three spots to fourth place, losing 73% of its opening weekend business. The sequel earned just RMB 46.8 million ($7.0 million), bringing its 10-day total to RMB 335 million ($50.1 million). The film is at risk of falling short of its predecessor’s total, a discouraging sign for Paramount given the market’s expansion since 2014.