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China Box Office: Local Titles ‘Youth’ and ‘Dunjia’ Dominate Weekend

A two-and-a-half-month delay did not harm the release of Feng Xiaogang’s “Youth.” It opened on top of the Chinese box office with a strong $43.2 million first weekend.

In second place was Yuen Woo-ping’s “Thousand Faces of Dunjia,” which opened a day earlier on Thursday. The fantasy actioner earned $27.3 million over three days and $31.3 million over four days.

Youth,” which takes a nostalgic look at China through the focus on a military entertainment troupe, had been scheduled to open in the Oct. 1 holiday slot, following a premiere at the Toronto festival. But a late and unexplained government intervention – widely thought to have been related to sensitivities about the National Party Congress taking place later in October – meant that its release was abruptly canceled.

The rescheduling, however, had the effect of propelling the film’s outing from a holiday season to another peak period. December is usually the busiest or second-busiest period in Chinese theaters, and the latter part of the month is reserved exclusively for releases of Chinese-language films.

So, while nearly all of the rest of the world was getting “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” China was watching two top local titles and Hollywood holdover “Coco.” “Star Wars” is set for release in China on Jan. 5, 2018.

“Youth” delivered superior per-screen averages on each day of the weekend, compared with “Dunjia.” On Friday, “Dunjia” had 97,000 screenings, against 90,000 for “Youth,” but still placed second. On Saturday and Sunday, “Dunjia” saw its screen count reduced and “Youth’s” increased to a peak of 94,000.

“Coco” earned $17.1 million in its fourth weekend, a week-on-week drop of 48%. After 24 days on release, it has accumulated $155 million, making it the 13th biggest film of the year and the 8th biggest U.S. title.

“Paddington 2” added $4.71 million in its second weekend. That lifts its total to $25.8 million after 10 days.

European animated film “Loving Vincent” scored $1.59 million in its second weekend. Its cumulative is now $8.36 million.

Sixth place belonged to Hong Kong-Chinese actioner “Liquidator.” The film played a day of previews on Saturday, earning $640,000 from 1,200 sessions. No other title earned more than $500,000.

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