The decision to release “Aquaman” in China two weeks prior to its North American outing paid off handsomely. The DC Comics adaptation achieved a massive $94.1 million opening in three days, according to data from Asian entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway.
The early release meant that the film played against weak opposition – tired Hollywood and Chinese holdovers and a small Chinese picture. That allowed it to achieve an 85% market share. National box office for the weekend was $108 million.
The opening figures represented the biggest weekend ever for a Warner Bros. title in China – the film was released in China through state-owned China Film Group – beating “Ready Player One” by 66%. It was also by far the best score for a DC Comics title, which are sometimes considered too dark for mainstream audience tastes in China, compared with Disney’s Marvel franchise. It beat “Justice League” by 92% and “Batman Vs Superman” by 78% and overtook the lifetime score of “Wonder Woman” in three days.
“Aquaman” also dominated the large IMAX circuit in China. It played on 559 screens and grossed $9.7 million of its weekend total in IMAX theaters. Director James Wan included some 92 mins of specially-formatted footage produced exclusively for IMAX theatres, and presenting up to 26% more picture on those screens.
Other titles on release fought for screens and eyeballs. In second place, Chinese-made crime thriller “A Cool Fish” earned $6.5 million, lifting its total to $108 million according to Artisan Gateway, after five weekends on release.
China’s “Einstein and Einstein” earned $2.9 million in its three-day opening. That was good enough for third place. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” added $2.4 million in its third week, for a cumulative total of $38.6 million. Previous box office winner, “Venom” earned $1.5 million in fifth place. That extended its huge total in the Middle Kingdom to $269 million.