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China Box Office: ‘Belonged’ Wins National Day Holiday

Four new release films topped the Chinese box office over a weekend extended – and complicated — by the National Day holiday.

This year the Oct. 1 memorial day – traditionally a day for families to go and watch firework displays — fell on Thursday. Romance, “I Belonged to You,” took the chance of releasing on Thursday and was amply rewarded with first place that day and throughout the four days. It scored $34.4 million in the Friday to Sunday period, according to data from Ent Group. And, including a $11.1 million first day on which it enjoyed over 80% market share, “Belonged” finished the weekend with a cumulative of $45.9 million.

Second placed film was “L.O.R.D. Legend of Ravaging Dynasties,” a contemporary fantasy directed by “Tiny Times” novelist turned filmmaker Guo Jingming, and stuffed with stars including Fan Bingbing and Kris Wu. It scored $27.9 million between Friday and Sunday and added in $1.28 million of previews, for a cumulative of $29.3 million.

Hong Kong-produced action film “Operation Mekong” released on Friday and shot to $24.8 million in three days for third place. On Sunday, it ranked second ahead of “L.O.R.D.”

Fourth was Chinese comedy action adventure “Mission Milano,” which drummed up $15.4 million between Friday and Sunday. The solid scores for the Chinese quartet were useful boosts for the box office, which has weakened significantly since June. But they were not large enough to change the recent stagnating trend.

Popular movie website Douban calculated that the gross box office for the National Day weekend period was down 10% compared with last year. But its calculation was for three days, rather than four. And even a sideways performance is a weaker per screen performance given that thousands of new cinemas have opened in the past 12 months.

With nearly all those screens playing the top four titles, the scores for all other titles were marginal. Only U.S.-made animation “Storks” cracked $1 million for the weekend. It added $1.81 million for a 10 day cumulative of $8.33 million.

“I Am Nezha” earned $820,000 from a Saturday release. Releasing on Sunday, “Armor Hero” managed $770,00. “Ghost Hospital” managed $240,000 from a Friday release.

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