‘Wolf Warrior II’ Crowned King of the Chinese Box Office

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.

Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid crowns Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior II as the highest-grossing film of all-time in China. The poster is a nod to the North American tradition in which studios congratulate each other when a new box office record is broken.

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 millionNorth America
Avatar (2009, 2010)$760.5 millionNorth America
Titanic (1997, 2012)$658.7 millionNorth America
Jurassic World (2015)$652.3 millionNorth America
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)$623.3 millionNorth 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.