China Box Office: ‘London’ Opens Better in China than in U.S.

  • London saw Friday-through-Sunday sales gross $55.7 million. 
  • Unless Jungle Book explodes, the BO could face a year-on-year dip in April.
  • Zootopia, in its sixth week in theaters, is now the No. 3 all-time highest-grossing import

Despite opening on the slowest moviegoing weekend since February’s Lunar New Year, newcomer action-disaster flick London Has Fallen (伦敦陷落) exceeded box office expectations, debuting with RMB 159 million ($24.6 million).

Total ticket sales for the Friday-through-Sunday period topped out at just RMB 360 million ($55.7 million). Barring an explosive breakout for Disney’s The Jungle Book opening Friday April 15 on par with last April’s blockbuster performance from Furious 7 — which grossed RMB 2 billion in two weeks — China’s booming box office is at risk of its first year-on-year down month since December 2013.

London Has Fallen — the sequel to 2013’s successful Olympus Has Fallen — defied predominately negative reviews on Chinese social media websites by opening 14% bigger than the film did in North America one month ago. Sony Pictures, the studio behind London Has Fallen, was the worst-performing Hollywood studio in China last year, but execs there can find some solace in the fact this will be Sony’s second revenue-sharing import in 2016 following The Walk to sell better in China on opening weekend than it did stateside.

London is ultimately unlikely to outgross North America’s $60 million total since The Jungle Book will dominate screens on Friday leaving London falling precipitously on its second weekend.

China Film Insider

China Film Insider

In second place, dark comedy Chongqing Hotpot (重庆英雄) leaped past the Tomb Sweeping Holiday’s victor My Beloved Bodyguard (我的特工爷爷) and dropped just 48% from its opening weekend to gross RMB 72.7 million ($11.3 million). Hotpot has now soaked up RMB 313 million ($48.3 million) in 10 days, an impressive tally for what  essentially is a niche genre film.

Bodyguard meanwhile tumbled 75% into fourth place with RMB 41.6 million ($6.4 million) over the weekend. Sammo Hung’s action film has grossed RMB 295 million ($45.6 million) and is nearing the end of its run.

In third, between Hotpot and Bodyguard, amazingly in its sixth weekend in Chinese theaters, Zootopia (疯狂动物城) earned RMB 42.5 million ($6.6 million. The Disney original animation stands at RMB 1.5 billion ($233 million) with one more week of release and is now Disney’s highest grossing film of all-time in the territory as well the No. 3 highest-grossing imported film ever in China (see table).

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Finally, rounding out the Top Five, Batman v Superman continued its Middle Kingdom slide, slumping a further 78% in its third weekend of release to RMB 18.5 million ($2.9 million). The massive superhero tentpole has grossed just RMB 609 million ($94.3 million) and was intended to kick-off Warner Bros’ DC Cinematic Universe as a rival to Disney’s Marvel. In the end, however, two of the world’s most popular superheroes will fall short of even Ant-Man, Marvel’s tiniest superhero which built a mound of RMB 644 million in 2015.