China’s “Monster Hunt 2,” a hybrid live action and CGI fantasy from the co-creator of “Shrek,” romped into the record books on its opening day Friday, which coincided with the start of the Chinese New Year holiday.
By 10 p.m. local time Friday, the film had grossed $95.7 million (RMB603 million), according to provisional data from China Box Office. That eclipses the previous first-day record in China, which was set last year by “Wolf Warrior 2.”
“Monster Hunt 2’s” earnings on Friday accounted for 44% of the market, ahead of “Detective Chinatown 2” in second place. “Detective Chinatown 2” had scored $56 million (RMB359 million) by 8 p.m.
Berlin Film Festival-goers and foreign distributors will get a chance to see the Raman Hui-directed “Monster Hunt 2” for themselves this weekend. It plays on Sunday in an out-of-competition special screening.
Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) is one of the two peak times for cinema attendance in China. Often in past years, the first day of the week-long public holiday has proved to be quieter than the second and third days, as families cluster together on the first day before dispersing. As recently as two days ago, Chinese media had been forecasting an overall first-day box office of only $63 million (RMB400 million).
“Monster Hunt 2” is a sequel to a 2015 original that overtook “Fast & Furious 7” to briefly become the highest-grossing film of all time in China, with a box office of $384 million (RMB2.44 billion). (“The Mermaid” and “Wolf Warrior 2” have since surpassed “Monster Hunt.”) Like the original, “Monster Hunt 2” stars Bai Baihe and Jing Boran, with the addition this time of “In the Mood for Love” and “Grandmaster” star Tony Leung Chiu-wai.
Lionsgate will open the film in the U.S. this weekend on its Lionsgate Premiere label.