‘Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back’ Sets Records

The sequel sets a new single-day mark and looks like it’s going higher.

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back exploded at the Chinese box office on Saturday, the first day of the week-long Lunar New Year Holiday, it scored a single-day record for local language films with RMB 345 million (US$50.2 million) in ticket sales.

Saturday’s total, including RMB 10.45 million ($1.5 million) from midnight screenings on Friday, blew past the previous record holder, The Mermaid, which earned RMB 316 million ($48.0 million) on the final day of last year’s holiday, which had the added benefit of coinciding with Valentine’s Day, another significant shopping and moviegoing holiday in recent years in China.

The film’s record-breaking debut also helped elevate overall domestic box office to a new single-day record on Saturday. More than 21 million moviegoers flocked to cinemas across the country and contributed RMB 755 million ($110 million) worth of ticket sales, nearly a 25 percent increase over last year’s first day of Chinese New Year (CNY), when 17 million tickets were bought for RMB 647 million ($98.4 million).

Through the first two days of the week-long holiday, the top five films are:

  • Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (西游伏妖篇RMB 553 million ($80.4 million)          
  • Buddies In India (大闹天竺RMB 289 million ($42.0 million)
  • Kung Fu Yoga (功夫瑜伽RMB 250 million ($36.4 million)
  • Duckweed (乘风破浪RMB 119 million ($17.3 million)
  • Boonie Bears: Entangled Worlds (熊出没:奇幻空间RMB 115 million ($16.7 million)

Look for CFI‘s regular weekly in-depth analysis, encompassing the first three days of CNY, including moviegoer reactions, a case of likely box office fraud, and a controversial change in Chinese box office accounting that may have major implications for Hollywood studios. Stay tuned.