On Screen China: ‘Skiptrace’ Steady, But Box-Office Cool-down Continues

  • Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville comedy on track to become biggest local summer film
  • Its probable $125 M finish means China’s once red-hot B.O. is slumping year-on-year
  • Bad word of mouth spreading on coming weekend’s biggest release, League of Gods


After a $61 million debut last weekend, the Jackie Chan action-comedy Skiptrace added an additional $30 million in ticket sales from Monday through Thursday, and is now on track to become the biggest local-language film of the summer.

Still, compared with the trio of domestic hits released last July — Monster Hunt ($381.9 million), Jianbing Man ($186.4 million), and Monkey King: Hero Is Back ($153.0 million) — Skiptrace’s probable $125 million finish means China’s once red-hot box office is likely to continue its cool down.

This weekend won’t help to reignite the market either, as only one film with any significant box office potential is released on Friday — League of Gods.

League of Gods (封神传奇)

China Distributor: Bona Film Group (博纳影业集团)
U.S. Distributor: Magnum Films

CFI Score: 6/10

Based on the Ming dynasty mythological novel Investiture of the Gods (封神榜), League of Gods brings together some of Hong Kong and Mainland China’s biggest movie stars in Jet Li, Tony Leung, Huang Xiaoming, and Angelababy.

Billed as a Chinese X-Men and budgeted at a reported RMB 300M ($45 million), League of Gods had been hotly anticipated by Chinese fantasy fans since its announcement in 2014.

After the first trailer premiered in June, however, Chinese social media lambasted director Koan Hui for the film’s cheap-looking CGI, and buzz has significantly fallen off since.

Even though reviews from advanced screenings give more credit to the visual effects in the final version than the trailer’s, CFI believes League of Gods is headed for a disappointing RMB 300M-400M ($45M-$60M) finish.

Curious North American moviegoers can also catch League of Gods in select cities on Friday, July 29.