The Chinese box office malaise of late 2016 continued into the new year as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened in China with a box office win that was far below that of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Releasing in an almost identical slot to its predecessor, “Rogue One” earned $32.2 million in its opening three-day weekend, according to data from Ent Group. A year ago, “The Force Awakens” enjoyed $53.2 million in its opening two day weekend, before going on to finish its run with $124 million.
Handled by China Film Group, “Rogue One” had a massive 89,000 screenings per day on Friday and Saturday. That was more than double the outings of second-placed romantic comedy “Some Like it Hot,” which achieved $11.7 million in its second weekend for a total of $53.4 million after 10 days.
“Rogue One” earned fractionally over $4 million of its total from IMAX screens. It opened on 381 IMAX screens, almost the entire Chinese park, having taken them over from “The Great Wall.”
Nationwide, “Rogue One” should have done better. It was the first major Hollywood title to open in the market in three weeks (after Chinese-U.S. coproduction “The Great Wall”,) it boasted genuinely popular and prominent Chinese elements in stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen and the number of available screens in China has grown by 30% since January 2016.
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Negative factors included the unfamiliarity of Chinese audiences with the “Star Wars” franchise, compared that in with other territories, and the recent smoggy weather which kept many people indoors — although that was lifting on Sunday.
After improving in its second weekend, Jackie Chan’s “Railroad Tigers” crumbled in its third week. It placed third and earned $5.58 million for a 17-day cumulative of $87.2 million.
“The Great Wall” added $3.13 million in its fourth weekend. After 24 days it has hit a total of $160 million. It held up better than “See You Tomorrow,” the much-hyped comedy previously known as “The Ferryman.” That added just $1.07 million in eighth place in its third weekend for a 17-day cumulative of $67.6 million.
“Hacksaw Ridge,” allowed to play beyond the usual four week run, added$1.41 million in sixth place. It has a cumulative total of $57.6 million after 31 days.
New release, Chinese animated comedy, “Zhu Zhu Xia Zhi Ying Xiong Zhi Shiao Nian” (aka “GG Bond”) split the holdover titles and managed $2.53 million for fifth place.