China Box Office: ‘Mission: Impossible’ Wins Week, ‘Minions’ Edges Weekend

Minions Movie
Courtesy of Universal

Hollywood films collided with each other at the top of the Chinese box office over the past, largely quiet, week. “Minions” claimed the weekend, but “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” held on to its lead over the week.

Through  the seven days Monday (Sept. 14) to Sunday (Sept. 20) “Mission: Impossible” earned $33.7 million, a 60% week-on-week drop, according to data from Ent Group. That gives it a total of $120 million after 13 days of release.

Over the same period “Minions” took $31.3 million, giving it an 8-day cumulative score of $50.2 million.

Data shows that “Minions” won came out on top on its day of release Sunday (Sept. 13), but immediately slipped behind “Mission: Impossible” during the subsequent five week days.

Numbers for Saturday (Sept. 19) show “Minions” rebounding to a $9.02 million win, over “Mission: Impossible” with $7.75 million. And on Sunday “Minions” scored $6.79 million, ahead of “Mission: Impossible” on $6.09 million.

That both films have underperformed compared with some market estimates, may be a reflection of regulators’ policy decisions to make the Hollywood titles compete with and erode each other’s markets. But the weekday strength of “Mission: Impossible” also points to it working better with adult audiences, while “Minions” plays better with families.

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Movie portal Mtime reported that the weekend box office total at RMB265 million ($41.4 million) was 30% down on the previous weekend’s $58.7 million (RMB376), and bemoaned the sameness of the films on offer. That points to competition between the titles eroding each other, rather than lifting the market.

The market is expected to jolt back into life over the next week with the release of “Lost In Hong Kong” from the “Lost In Thailand” team arriving on screens on Friday (Sept. 25).

Both of the top movies performed better than “Pixels” which was released on Tuesday (Sept. 15) and earned only $12.1 million, for third place. Commentators have been harsh on the film, suggesting in some cases that the film was inappropriate and out of touch with the Chinese market. Based on old console video games that were not widely available in China before today’s PC- and smartphone-gaming generation, and featuring less well-known stars, the picture may have limited its chances. That China Film Group was an investor, ensured that it would be imported and released, but not that it would be a hit.

Opening in fourth place was the Korean blockbuster “Assassination” which earned $3.9 million in four days. The film, which trades in anti-Japanese sentiment was given a narrower release thane the Hollywood titles – over the weekend it had approximately 12,000 play dates per day compared with 44,000 each for the top two titles and 25,000 per day for “Pixels” – but managed a per screen average only on a par with “Pixels.”

Chinese-made crime story “Ulterior Motive” opened in fifth place with$1.49 million over 7 days.

“Saving Mr Wu,” a Chinese actioner starring Andy Lau, charted in sixth spot with $1.22 million from its previews alone. That appears to herald a big score when it goes wide on Sept. 30.

With tiny scores, the remaining places were taken by patriotic state movie “Hundred Regiments Offensive” ($0.91 million for a cumulative of $63.2 million), “The Dead End” ($0.84 million for a cumulative of $47.6 million), new opener “Evil Calls” ($0.65 million), and “Monster Hunt” ($0.63 million for a cumulative of $383 million).