Aquaman trailer

China Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Sinks All Challengers With $94 Million Opening

Patrick FraterPatrick Frater is Asia Editor of Variety, based out of Hong Kong and Bangkok, where he oversees a small team of Asia regional correspondents, in addition to reporting on the international film and TV markets. He was previously International Editor at Screen International and co-founder of Film Business Asia. Before focusing his attention on the entertainment sector, he worked for finance industry publications in London and Paris.

Asia

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.