Chinese-made films accounted for four of the world’s top five films over the past weekend as Middle Kingdom celebrated Chinese New Year by going to the movies.
While “Deadpool” took the global top spot according to Rentrak/Comscore, the following four slots were taken by “The Mermaid” with a $109 million weekend; “The Monkey King 2” with $38 million’ “From Vegas to Macau III” with $36.1 million and “Kung Fu Panda 3” with $34.2 million.
Over the 7 days to Sunday (Feb. 14) did even better. The Chinese quartet amassed more than half a billion in their home Chinese market – a total of $543 million that tops the North American 7 day record of $530 million set from Dec. 26 when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was the top title.
In seven days since their head to head Monday (Feb. 8) release “The Mermaid” stunned with $275 million; “From Vegas to Macau III” hit the jackpot with $120 million; and “The Monkey King 2” climbed to $117 million, according to Chinese box office tracking service Ent Group.
The massive openings of the big three largely halted the progress of Chinese-U.S. co-production “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which had been released a ten days earlier (Jan. 29). After 17 days “Panda” stands on $127 million, just a shade ahead of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which pundits had expected “Panda” to soundly beat.
“The Monkey King 2” scored $10.7 million of its Chinese total on 279 IMAX screens, making it the highest opening week for a Chinese-language remastered film. (The previous record week had been $7.3 million by “Dragon Blade.”) It also enjoyed IMAX’s highest single day — $2.8 million — for a non-English-language film.
The Chinese New Year week was also a tremendous vindication of the the commercial film-making smarts of the Hong Kong film makers now working in mainland China. All three pictures were directed by Hong Kong talent and structured as co-ventures between China and Hong Kong.