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China Weekend Box Office: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Flounders as ‘Fish’ and ‘Venom’ Swim On

“Crazy Rich Asians” opened in a miserable eighth place at the Chinese box office over the weekend. Local crime thriller “A Cool Fish” held on to its lead in its third week of release, while “Venom” came in at No. 2.

Data from Artisan Gateway, an exhibition industry consultancy, showed “Crazy Rich Asians” earning just $1.2 million in three days, inclusive of online ticketing fees. By contrast, “A Cool Fish,” grossed $24.2 million, a figure almost unchanged from the previous weekend. After three weekends on release, “A Cool Fish” has a cumulative score of $90.1 million.

Few analysts and commentators had been sure how “Crazy Rich Asians” would play, with its comic take on the lifestyles of super-wealthy Singaporean-Chinese. Its release in the Middle Kingdom came more than three months after its successful stateside outing, and the cast members were largely unknown in China, with the exception of Michelle Yeoh. Exhibitors hedged their bets and initially gave the film plenty of screenings, but slashed the screen count when it became apparent that moviegoers weren’t biting.

The lack of strong new titles meant that aggregate box office for the weekend dropped from $85 million a week earlier to a ho-hum $62.5 million. That keeps the year-to-date total on pace for a 10% increase, with a total so far of $8.2 billion.

Venom” held a strong second place, scoring $12.3 million in its fourth weekend in China. Its total after 24 days in theaters is $262 million, lifting it fractionally above “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” to become the No. 2 Hollywood title of the year in China and the seventh biggest overall.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” earned $10.2 million in its second weekend, down from $19.5 million. Its cumulative after 10 days is $34.2 million.

“Johnny English Strikes Again” repeated in fourth place. Its $5.1 million second weekend compared with its $11 million first session. The film’s total to date is $21.3 million.

The highest-scoring newcomer was an Indian comedy about aging, “102 Not Out.” While the cricket reference was probably lost on Chinese audiences, a succession of releases over the past two years has created growing interest for a certain category of Indian movies that are more reliant on story than star power. “102” is a two-hander featuring superstar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran Rishi Kapoor, neither of whom have made a mark in China in recent years. It earned $3.3 million.

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