The patriotic action film Wolf Warrior II supplanted Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid on Wednesday to become the highest-grossing film of all-time in China. Remarkably, the film shows no signs of slowing down entering its third weekend in theaters.
The Mermaid (RMB 3.392 billion/$526.8 million), 2016’s mega-blockbuster directed by China’s “king of comedy” Stephen Chow, officially relinquished its all-time box office throne on Wednesday to Wolf Warrior II and China’s new “king of action”, actor/director Wu Jing.
Through mid-day Thursday, Wolf Warrior II had devoured an incredible RMB 3.611 billion* ($541.3 million) in ticket sales, not only placing it at the top of China’s all-time charts, but also as the 6th highest-grossing film of any single territory, just behind The Avengers‘ $623 million North American haul.
Highest-Grossing Film in a Single Territory
|Film (Year Released)||Gross (USD)||Territory|
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)||$936.7 million||North America|
|Avatar (2009, 2010)||$760.5 million||North America|
|Titanic (1997, 2012)||$658.7 million||North America|
|Jurassic World (2015)||$652.3 million||North America|
|Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)||$623.3 million||North America|
|Wolf Warrior II (2017)||$541.3 million*||China|
Even though two new wide releases — psychological thriller Guilty of Mind (心理罪) and heist film The Adventurers (侠盗联盟) — will eat into Wolf‘s screen share this weekend, the patriotic action film will still challenge The Force Awakens‘ $90 million all-time record third weekend.
Guaranteed a release extension into September and bolstered by unflagging demand, Wolf Warrior II is now looking at a final tally in the realm of RMB 6 billion ($900 million) which would put it just below The Force Awakens‘ $937 million North American total as the second highest-grossing film ever from a single territory.
Wolf Warrior II has been able to find unprecedented box office success for a number of reasons including an advantageous release date in the middle of China’s unofficial blackout period thereby eliminating imported competition, pent-up demand after a long domestic box office drought stretching back to late January, pride in the film’s top-grade technical aspects and Hollywood-level action sequences, and perhaps most importantly, a patriotic undertone that was able to stoke nationalism from the Chinese masses.
Wolf Warrior II also received a day-and-date North American release through distributor Well Go USA and has earned more than $1 million through last weekend, making it among the top-five biggest grossers in the studio’s 8-year history distributing Asian films in the North American market.
*All listed grosses in this article are adjusted to remove online ticketing fees. For a primer on why CFI reports this way, see here.