China’s box office roars back to full speed. Even with theater capacity limited to reduce the spread of illness, the first days of the Year of the Ox saw some record-breaking box-office performances.
China’s box office roars back to full speed. Faced with an increase in reported cases of Covid-19 in clusters around the country, the Chinese government strongly discouraged travel during this year’s Spring Festival, sharply curtailing what’s often referred to as the largest annual human migration. But that doesn’t mean that citizens are staying locked down in their homes for the holiday. Even with theater capacity limited to reduce the spread of illness, the first days of the Year of the Ox saw some record-breaking box-office performances.
The first day of the Lunar New Year, when the biggest films make their debuts, set a new single-day box office record — not just for China but for any single market in the world — of RMB 1.7 billion ($263 million).
The Friday-to-Sunday weekend was the biggest in Chinese history, with takings of nearly RMB 5 billion ($775 million). It also marked the first time China’s box office broke the billion-yuan mark for three consecutive days — and that was with a maximum theater capacity of 75% in most of the country, with certain cities, like Beijing, reduced to 50% ahead of the busy holiday season.
The action-comedy “Detective Chinatown 3” (唐人街探案 3), which had originally been scheduled for release during last year’s Spring Festival, led the pack of seven Lunar New Year releases. Its three-day weekend gross totaled RMB 2.57 billion ($398 million), setting new records as well. It both outgrossed the 2019 China debut of “Avengers: Endgame,” and can claim the title of biggest opening weekend ever in a single market, outpacing the $357 million North America debut of “Endgame.”
Chinese productions accounted for all of the major releases during this weekend, in keeping with the standard practice of blocking foreign film premieres during the peak moviegoing periods. And with the strong appetite for domestic films, Hollywood’s role in China could shrink even further in the future. Already in 2020, only 16% of box office receipts came from imported films, compared to 36% in the previous years. Continue to read the full article here