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‘Batman v Superman’ Hits a Wall at China Box Office

Superhero franchise movie “Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice” slumped at the Chinese box office as it entered its second week of release.

On Friday (April 1) the film earned $2.57 million (RMB16.7 million) and slipped from first place to fourth in the Chinese box office rankings. That score represents a drop of 85% compared with the previous Friday (March 25,) when it opened in China with $18.4 million as part of a globally coordinated day-and-date release.

“Batman v Superman” has seen its box office scores reduce on a daily basis through the week following its Saturday (March 26) peak of $22.3 million. With a host of new Chinese-language releases ahead of the local holiday — Tomb Sweeping Festival (Qingming) — that meant that exhibitors slashed the number of screens available to “Batman V Superman.”

The Friday chart was topped by “My Beloved Bodyguard,” (aka “The Bodyguard”,) a martial arts action drama directed by and starring Sammo Hung (“Martial Law”) and co-starring Andy Lau (“Infernal Affairs”) which earned $7.83 million (RMB50.9 million). Second place was “Chongqing Hotpot,” a noirish comedy-drama that last month opened the Hong Kong film festival, and which scored $5.24 million (RMB34.0 million.) Third was “Who Sleeps My Bro,” a youth drama which earned $3.41 million (RMB22.2 million).

“Batman v Superman” opened brightly with a $55.6 million first three days in China. Sources close to Warner Bros. told Variety earlier in the week that they “feel great about that number, as very few films open above $50 million.”

The source also cautioned against short term comparisons, as films in China open on different days of the week.

The slump for “Batman v Superman” comes at a time when China’s box office is growing at 50%. That growth is increasingly powered by local Chinese titles, rather than by Hollywood.

“Batman v Superman” was expected to benefit from being the biggest Hollywood superhero movie released in China since midway through last year. But with a tone than is darker than ideal for mainstream Chinese audiences the DC Comics adaptation earned modest reviews and weak word of mouth.

Its Sunday score was $14.8 million; Monday $4.58 million; Tuesday $4.02 million; Wednesday $3.47 million; Thursday $2.86 million. After eight days “Batman V Superman” stands on $74.9 million (RMB487 million), according to local data sources.

Local forecasts now point to a final score of less than $100 million (RMB650 million) for “Batman v Superman.” In 2015 the lesser known “Ant Man” earned RMB644 million, and “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” scored RMB1.47 billion. In 2014 “X-Men: Days of Future Past” scored RMB744 million. In 2013 “Iron Man 3” earned RMB768 million.


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