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China Box Office: ‘Jason Bourne’ and ‘Ice Age’ Share Weekend

Two Hollywood titles released midweek in China dominated the country’s weekend box office. Neither will threaten the record books.

Actioner, “Jason Bourne” narrowly beat animation “Ice Age: Collision Course” with Friday to Sunday scores of $23.7 million and $22.0 million respectively. Between them they accounted for over 75% of the weekend box office total, and ended the winning – but relatively weak — performances of Chinese-language titles which had topped the chart for the previous six weeks.

Their release on Tuesday (Aug. 23) meant that “Bourne” finished the weekend with a cumulative $48.9 million after six days, while “Ice Age” had accumulated $42.4 million after six days, according to data from Ent Group. They ran each other closely throughout the period with “Ice Age” actually taking the top spot on Sunday.

While the six day scores were decent, for their respective studios it was a case of ‘what if.’ Chinese regulators, who decide release dates for imported Hollywood titles, have supposedly reduced the annual summer ‘blackout period.’ But giving identical midweek dates to the first major Hollywood releases in over a month still appears to be an example of stacking the odds against the foreign movies.

It remains to be seen whether China Film Group, which holds a near monopoly on Hollywood releases in China, will lobby for more optimal release dating now that it has the trappings of a profit-maximizing private sector company. It was floated on the Shanghai stock exchange this month and has seen its share price triple.

This week it was noticeable that two influential state-controlled newspapers both lobbied for an end to the summer blackout. They argued that handicapping the competition does not help Chinese films to improve.

Third place over the weekend went to “Line Walker,” the Hong Kong TV adaptation which has topped the chart last week, with $3.58 million between Friday and Sunday. After 18 days on release it has scored $84.0 million.

Fourth was another previous chart topper “Time Raiders.” It managed $1.98 million over the weekend for a total of $146 million over24 days.

Chinese animation ‘Xin Da Tou Er Zi He Xiao Tou Ba Ba Zhi Yi Ri Cheng Cai” (with an unofficial translation “New Happy Dad and Son 2: The Instant Genius”,)  scraped fifth place with $1.42 million. After 11 days it has accumulated $11.8 million.

European crime drama, “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” was the highest-scoring Friday release. It managed $1.41 million for sixth place. Fantasy, “Love O2O” took $1.37 million, extending its total to $39.1 million after 17 days.

Eighth was “Crying Out In Love,” a Korean remake of the 2004 Japanese hit fantasy romance “Crying out Love in the Center of the World.” The Kwak Jae-yong-directed retread managed only $1.20 million in it opening three days. As with “Kidnapping,” the Friday opening day was its highest scoring day, with declines on both Saturday and Sunday.

Disney documentary “Born in China” enjoyed a small Saturday and Sunday bounce. It added $700,000 for $8.01 million after 17 days. So too did “The Secret Life of Pets,” which took tenth spot with $390,000 and a 27-day cumulative of $57.8 million.

Gina Kim’s Michelle Yeoh-starring drama “Final Recipe,” charted on its opening day, Friday, but slipped out of the top ten thereafter. According to CBO, it earned $325,000 (RMB2.18 million) in three days.

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