The film delivered box office of $17.7 million on Friday, $24 million on Saturday and $17 million on Sunday, with market share above 70% of the nationwide total on Friday and Saturday, dropping to 62% on Sunday. Including Thursday evening paid previews, that gives a weekend score of $66 million (RMB465 million), according to preliminary data from Ent Group. Other estimates may put the figure higher.
“Hacksaw Ridge,” in its second week, and new release “The Wasted Times” disputed second place, each with roughly 10% of the nationwide total. “Hacksaw” is expected to have accumulated $34.7 million after 11 days. “Wasted Times,” which reunites Zhang Ziyi with Ge You ten years after “The Banquet,” was second on Friday and Saturday, but third on Sunday. It managed $9.42 million in three days.
Behind them was Japanese animation “Your Name,” which added $3.0 million for fourth place. That gives it a total of $78 million, overtaking last year’s “Doraemon” to be the biggest Japanese title of all time in China.
The big story, however, was “The Great Wall,” a hugely ambitious China-U.S. co-production, conceived before production house Legendary East became an indirect subsidiary of Chinese property to entertainment giant Wanda. The release in China was handled by China Film Corp. and Wanda’s Wenzhou Distribution.
The film’s total is the third biggest opening weekend this year — after Legendary’s own “Warcraft” and Stephen Chow’s Chinese New Year release “The Mermaid,” which went on to be the biggest film of all time in China.
It played on approximately 45% of available screens. But had per screen averages that were significantly higher.
“The Great Wall” played on 364 million IMAX screens in China and scored $7 million, for the IMAX circuit’s 2nd highest December opening and the third highest IMAX opening score for a local film, behind “Mojin: the Lost Legend” and “Monster Hunt.” IMAX reported that its screens were represented in 18 of the top 20 locations. Going forward there is no other IMAX release in China until “Rogue One” on Jan. 6, 2017.
Other market data shows the film giving China’s overall theatrical market a much needed boost. On each of the three days, nationwide cumulative takings were more than 26% higher than the corresponding days last week.
Releases by Universal Pictures and UIP in other parts of Asia start later this month. Universal continues the process in Europe through January, and in North America on Feb. 17, 2017.