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China Box Office: ‘Wu Kong’ Dominates as Hollywood Blackout Begins

The Chinese box office took on a distinctly different look this past weekend when it was dominated by local fantasy action film “Wu Kong” as the usual summer blackout on Hollywood releases took effect.

Directed by Hong Kong’s Derek Kwok, “Wu Kong” is based on an Internet novel that features the kinetic character Sun Wukong before he became the Monkey King, a staple of contemporary Chinese literature and film. Starring Eddie Peng, Shawn Yue and Ni Ni, the New Classics Media-produced film was released Thursday and dominated screens and the charts throughout the weekend.

After four days of release, with 95,000 screenings per day, it scored $54.8 million. The total includes $3.2 million from 422 IMAX screens.

Despicable Me 3” took a 70% tumble from last week’s record opening for an animated film, dropping from first to second place. It earned $19.2 million over three days and advanced its cumulative receipts to $112 million after 10 days.

Without the releases of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” or “War for the Planet of the Apes,” which dominated other territories, theaters in China opened their doors to a large number of local films.

The gap between second and third place was large. Comedy fantasy “Meow”  took $4.37 million in three days. It was distributed by Gravity Pictures (an affiliate of Warner Bros. and CMC) and Wuzhou.

In fourth was “Da Hu Fa,” a Chinese animated fantasy, targeted at the kids’ market. In three days, it earned $3.41 million.

Chinese-made horror-thriller “The House That Never Dies II” took a steep dive and scared up just $1.8 million in its second week of release. That gave it a total of $29.6 million after 11 days.

Released on Wednesday, Chinese comedy action film “Fist & Faith” took $1.69 million over the weekend proper and $3.98 million over five days. Distribution is by Alibaba Pictures.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” cranked out a minor $1.61 million in seventh place. After 26 days, it has accumulated $226 million. That is simultaneously the fourth-best score of the year at the Chinese box office, and still a big disappointment compared with the previous record-breaking installments.

Eighth, ninth and tenth places were all taken by films in preview that will open wider in the next few days. Comedy “Father and Son” scored $930,000 on Sunday. Edko’s comedy romance “Our Shining Days” played Saturday and Sunday and has now scored $1.09 million ahead of its July 20 release. Period actioner “Brotherhood of Blades” scored $450,000.

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