The final part in Wilson Yip’s martial arts biopic trilogy, “Ip Man 3” topped the chart on each day through the weekend. It earned $22.4 million on Friday, according to local box office service Ent Group, followed by a huge $29.5 million on Saturday, and $18.3 million on Sunday. With up to 81,000 screenings per day, “Ip Man 3” had by far the largest number of play dates of any film on release and had accumulated 11.3 million ticket sales by the end of the weekend. Its average ticket price of $6.1 million was also the highest of any film in the top ten.
The film’s performance was criticized on social media and by state-backed newspaper China Daily as possibly being inflated by bulk ticket buying activity by distributor, Dayinmu. The SGPPRFT and state-owned distributor ChinaFilm Group said they have received complaints.
There is a clear incentive for one company to maximise the film’s gross revenues. Shi Fang Holding, a listed Hong Kong shell company recently taken over by three veteran film makers including Shi Jianxing, head of Kuailu Investment Group, is the contractual recipient of 55% of mainland China theatrical revenues from”Ip Man 3.” In a press release last week the company boasted of applying its “financial management model” to “Ip Man 3,” and upcoming action film “The Bombing,” set to star Bruce Willis. ShiFang also said that it “intends to add financial support to the traditional distribution of films and leverage big data… with the expectation of doubling the box office receipt of the films it produces.”
“Zootopia” had a modest Friday, with $3.40 million, before receiving a huge boost on Saturday and Sunday from the family crowd. On Saturday its score leaped to $9.19 million, and was topped by Sunday’s $10.8 million.
Record-breaker “The Mermaid” held third place on each day and added $9.91 million over the weekend. That advanced its end of Sunday cumulative to $505 million.
“November Man,” released the same day as “Ip Man 3” and “Zootopia” managed 2.36 million. “The 33,” the fact-based drama about the Chilean miners,” also released the same day, earned $2.11 million for fifth place.
Lower places were taken by: “The Monkey King 2” earning 1.12 million for a cumulative of $183 million; “The Man Fom Macau 3” with $530,000, for a cumulative of $171 million; “Kung Fu Panda 3” with $470,000 for a cumulative of $151 million; “Boruto – Naruto The Movie” on $15.7 million after 17 days; and “Mr Highheel” on $19.6 million after 22 dys.