On Screen China: ‘Genius’ and ‘Final Fantasy’ Pose No Threat to Reigning Blockbusters

A crop of weak new releases including biographical drama Genius and RPG adaptation Final Fantasy XV will leave this weekend’s box office charts largely unchanged.

Eight new releases — six domestic and two imported “buy-out” films — feebly enter Chinese cinemas this weekend, with only Genius, starring Jude Law as eccentric author Thomas Wolfe, and Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV securing enough showtimes to make their limited presence felt at the box office.

In terms of ticket sales, the only real suspense at the box office will be whether A Dog’s Purpose can ride its positive word of mouth to a weekend victory over Logan.

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (最终幻想15:王者之剑)

China Distribution – Shanghai Oriental Pearl Media (上海东方明珠文化发展有限公司)
US Distribution – Stage 6 Films (Sony Pictures)

Entering its thirtieth year of existence, the Japanese fantasy RPG, Final Fantasy has become a massive media phenomenon, placing not only in the top ten of all-time best-selling video game franchises, but also boasting successful forays into manga, anime, and film. The awkwardly-titled Kingsglaive: FInal Fantasy XV comes to China more than nine months following its U.S. and Japanese releases, and although the franchise has built up a solid following of Chinese gamers, the film’s unattractive video game-style visual effects offer little appeal to general audiences. In the end, Final Fantasy XV will not come close to replicating the success of fellow video game adaptation Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, with a predicted run in the RMB 70 million range (~$10 million).

Genius (天才捕手)

China Distribution – Linmon Pictures (柠萌影业)
US Distribution –  Summit Entertainment

Max Perkins (Colin Firth), patient literary agent to eccentric author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), gets the biopic treatment in this drama from British theater director Michael Grandage. Genius received a limited North American release last summer, earning $1.4 million over the course of a run that peaked at 152 screens. In this light, the film’s Chinese prospects are fairly sunny, and it should have little problem surpassing North America’s total.  Revenue in China alone may even surpass the film’s current worldwide earnings ($5.7 million), with a predicted finish of RMB 40 million (~$6.0 million).


Here at On Screen China, weekly box office analysis primarily concerns the weekend’s widest releases, films with the biggest breakout potential, and other newsworthy titles. But each weekend, smaller films, frequently referred to as “cannon fodder” (paohui or 炮灰) in the Chinese media, squeeze into theaters, rarely selling more than a few hundred thousand dollars’ worth of tickets before disappearing into obscurity. Starting this week, CFI will be including a table detailing these lesser releases in order to provide a sense of the huge scope of the world’s second largest film industry.

Film TitleGenreMain PerformersProduction CompanyDistribution Company
Death Ouija 2
(碟仙诡谭2 )
HorrorAngela ChengWestern Movie Group
Beijing Kaiqizhe Media
Little Lucky
ComedyAllen AiZhuhai Hongsheng Cultural Communication Co.
Beijing Zhong Qian Chengcheng Culture Co
Funny Love
Romantic comedyWang Yuexin – DirectorBeijing Hairun Pictures
iQiYi Pictures
Action/ComedyJi Lei – DirectorShenzhen Dongmao Industrial Development Co.
Lost in the Moonlight
SuspenseWang Qianyuan, Yu NanBeijing Zhongkai Guanghui Media Development Co.
Huaxia Film Distribution Co
Spy Eyes
Horror/ThrillerOuyang Fengchang – DirectorEmei Film Group Co.
Beijing Lanjing Shengshi Media Co.