China Box Office: ‘Wolf Warriors 2’ Tops Global Rankings With $127 Million Debut

'Wolf Warriors 2’ Tops Global Box
Courtesy of Deng Feng International Media

China’s “Wolf Warriors 2” was the top film at the worldwide box office over the weekend, driven by a massive $127 million opening in its home territory. That was about $50 million ahead of second-place “Dunkirk,” which earned $73 million globally.

“Warriors 2” is a contemporary war actioner directed by and starring former martial artist Wu Jing (who also goes by the name Jacky Wu). With assistance from the Russo brothers and an international cast that includes Frank Grillo and Celina Jade, it is a sequel to a similar Wu-centered effort in 2015, which grossed $89 million.

The sequel’s opening performance not only beat the lifetime score of the predecessor movie; it also won the box office battle with Chinese propaganda movie “The Founding of an Army,” which showcases the creation of the People’s Liberation Army in 1927 and grossed $24.8 million, according to data from Ent Group.

Both films were released Thursday. Though “Army” had the initial advantage, with 68,000 screening sessions that day, compared to 38,000 for “Warriors 2,” it immediately trailed the more modern story. “Warriors 2” opened with $15.1 million, versus $5.62 million for “Army.”

Both films expanded thereafter, with “Warriors 2” enjoying as many as 126,000 sessions on Saturday and “Army” peaking at 94,000 on Friday. The momentum was with “Warriors 2,” which earned $31.2 million on Friday, $45.9 million on Saturday, and climbed to $49.2 million on Sunday.

Including its Thursday score, “Warriors 2” achieved $146 million in four days. “Army” finished with $30.5 million in four days.

While “Warriors 2” missed out on any kind of opening-day record, the Saturday and Sunday daily scores rank as the sixth and seventh biggest single day performances of all time in China. They also make the film the biggest Chinese-made hit this year and the first to exceed $100 million, both outside of the Chinese New Year period.

“Army” benefits from a pop star cast, spectacular staging, and the services of Hong Kong’s Andrew Lau (“Infernal Affairs”) as director. But it could not hide its status as a state-backed propaganda title harking back to historical events that hold little immediate relevance to China’s youth-skewing cinema audience.

(“Army” had a glitzy local debut in Hong Kong on Sunday night, with an audience full of old guard Hong Kong leaders. Peter Lam, chairman of distributor Media Asia, optimistically promised to lift the film’s box-office performance.)

All other titles scrambled for the few remaining screens. China is currently in its annual summer blackout period, when no major Hollywood movies can be released. That means those films crushed by the duel between “Warriors 2” and “Army” were largely Chinese titles.

Holdover “Despicable Me” earned $3.33 million in its fourth week for $146 million after 24 days. Chinese animation “Dear Tutu” took fourth spot with $2.66 million in three days.

Another Chinese animation, “Tofu,” limped to $2.22 million on its opening. Holdover “Brotherhood of Blades” added $1.97 million after a steep fall. After 12 days, its cumulative is $38 million. No other title reached $1 million over the weekend.

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  1. J T Red. says:

    So many stubborn ppl who get used to the Hollywood industry don’t admitted a great movie from China. What aren’t there any good in the movie, aren’t there any improvement u see in the movie? Stop being salted, and bring a brain to the commends, not all changes are bad just make yourself catch up with it. Remember be respect to other and u will receive the same as return. It helps yes it does.

  2. Luis Tejada says:

    So: a “rugged” phone as you call it like the one in the movie is supossed not to froze and stuff like that, thats interesting! Yet it sounds expensive, it isnt? I heard about cheap prices in the AGM brand but i really dont know how much it costs. Thanks for the answers

  3. Joey says:

    Of course a genuine movie will beat the box office of a historical war propaganda film, “Dunkirk”.

  4. Cncritic says:

    Well, J-dog was guessing. And I read posts from China commenting this “I bought the ticket and saw the show was fully booked. When I sat there watching it, I found just a few sitting in the theater.”

    So, well, tickets are indeed sold out but nobody show up to watch it? ummm

    • tseaann says:

      the ticket is sold and nobody show up?than who are u in there and some other ppl?in china,there are lots of rich ppl that like to book the whole cinema room for themself the last minute.so do not make silly comment when u not one of the rich

  5. J-Dog says:

    As if China box office numbers are real….

    • J T Red. says:

      Hey, you guys I see so much gradge in u towards Chinese government, but this movie is of Hollywood standard as the American media has admitted, and those who still don’t accept it which just made no sense. If you feel salted no worry, just remember the world has changed as always why not accept it with it in mind a country can never being weak and teased forever, it will grow and stand up as a hero. Although I doubt you will accept a Chinese guy who finally save the world, it just won’t stop happening.

    • Blue Silver says:

      How do you know they’re not?

      • Luke says:

        that is stupid. even if they fudge their numbers to this scale, why they could not reach this scale before? if this is a valid strategy, why don’t every country who competes with hollywood do the same thing?

        You just don’t have the balls to accept the fact that they could fudge their number only because they are now so close to the scale of surpassing the U.S. scale. Of course, onlookers only make a judgement after the fact, i.e., after their numbers are well beyond the U.S. numbers. That would be too late.

      • Rex says:

        On the plus side, it’s nice to see The Founding of An Army fail. China’s glaringly propagandistic period epics aren’t fooling anyone, even over there!

      • Rex says:

        They rarely are, especially for Mainlander “event” pictures like this one. They’re desperate to have the world perceive their movies as being on par with, and having the same global potential as, those made by Hollywood. So they fudge box office numbers with abandon and hope that Hollywood and America will shake in their boots. The government supposedly cracked down on the over-reporting practice last year, but in a country that size, it’s virtually impossible to stop.

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