China Box Office: ‘Star Wars’ Shivers, ‘Panda’ Previews Defy Winter Chill

Still from DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu

A rapidly slowing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” held on to top spot at the Chinese box office in its second full week. But over the weekend, “The Force Awakens” was beaten by a single day of previews for “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

Overall box office was low, reflecting both dwindling interest in the titles on offer and a deep winter chill which has sent most of East Asia into partial hibernation. “Star Wars” took $18.2 million in the week from Monday (Jan. 18) to Sunday (Jan. 24) and lifted its 16 day cumulative score to $116 million, according to data from Chinese box office service Ent Group.

Second placed “Boonie Bears III” earned $13.3 million, advancing its 9-day cumulative to $33.4 million. “The Last Witch Hunter” came third with $11.5 million, for a 10 day cumulative of $21.1 million. (Lionsgate data largely concurs, putting the film on $21.8 million.)

“Detective Chinatown” took$7.86 million in fourth place for a 25-day cumulative of $120 million. New release, “The Walk” took $6.83 million from 1.28 million admissions in its opening three days.

Sixth place on the weekly chart went to “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which does not release officially until Friday (Jan. 29). However, a single day of previews on Saturday earned $6.55 million from 1.22 million ticket sales.

That bodes well for the full release of “Panda” and points to the likelihood that “Star Wars” will imminently be pushed aside by exhibitors and audiences. That already happened on Saturday (Jan 23) when the previews for “Panda” actually made it the top film of the day.

On a three day (Friday to Sunday) interpretation of the weekend “Star Wars” emerged on top with $7.9 million, ahead of “Boonie Bears 3” with $6.82 million and “Panda” in third. Taken on a two day view (Saturday and Sunday) the “Panda” previews were enough to win, with $6.55 million, ahead of “Star Wars” on just $5.73 million and “Boonie Bears 3” on $5.37 million.

The two day view also shows how the exuberant opening weekend for “Star Wars” quickly gave way to slower business. It opened on Jan 9-10 with $53 million. Its second weekend (Jan. 16-17) was a 72% drop to $14.8 million, its third was a 61% drop to $5.73 million.

Over the week (Jan. 18-24), “Royal Treasure” added $6.22 million in sixth place for a 10-day cumulative of $18.2 million. New release “Inside or Out” debuted in eighth place with $3.98 million. “The Secret” added $3.02 million in ninth place for a 10-day cumulative of $9.42 million. Hit drama “Mr Six” added $3 million in tenth place for a 32 day total of $137 million.

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