xXx and La La Land benefit from a Valentine’s Day box office boom.
Chinese moviegoers got in the holiday spirit, pre-booking seats for a Valentine’s Day screening of La La Land in Beijing. (Courtesy Weibo)
Date-night at Chinese cineplexes propelled the box office on Valentine’s Day to an estimated RMB 384 million ($55.9 million) in ticket sales, nearly tripling Monday’s daily total, but at the same time a major drop-off from last year’s holiday, which racked up RMB 604 million at the tail end of peak Lunar New Year moviegoing.
The biggest recipients of this year’s V-Day surge were both imported films. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage scored its biggest day yet at the box office earning RMB 152.6 million ($22.2 million).
Rave reviews praising Donnie Yen’s performance have swept through Chinese social media, driving moviegoers to the cinema, and through just five days of release, Paramount’s sequel, which also stars Chinese fan favorites Vin Diesel, and Kris Wu, has grossed a massive RMB 619 million ($90.2 million), all but guaranteeing a RMB 1 billion ($145 million) finish.
In second place, La La Land also opened impressively with RMB 79 million ($11.5 million), including $1.7 million from Saturday’s wide previews. Given the relative obscurity and unpopularity of musicals in China, local marketing partners Joy Pictures and Baian Film skillfully pushed La La Land’s romantic elements and wisely opted for a Valentine’s Day release, allowing the Oscar forerunner a run likely to earn in the RMB 250 to 300 million ($35 to $45 million) range.
In other box office related news, Tuesday saw Kung Fu Yoga surpass Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back to become this year’s highest-grossing Lunar New Year film. Directed by Stanley Tong and starring Jackie Chan, Kung Fu Yoga has now grossed RMB 1.54 billion ($224.3 million), exceeding all pre-release expectations, while the Tsui Hark-directed, Stephen Chow-produced Journey to the West sequel has earned RMB 1.539 billion ($224.1 million) amidst weak word of mouth.