The prospect of a burning tower block should terrify audiences in China, where so many citizens live in vertical cities. But with the hugely popular Dwayne Johnson leading the rescue, the film was able to overcome fear of heights and only modest ratings on popular ticketing and ratings sites.
Despite being produced by Wanda-owned Legendary Entertainment, the film is considered as a revenue-sharing quota import, and is distributed by state-owned China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution. The connections to Wanda, China’s largest cinema circuit, as well as a powerful marketing machine, can only have helped. The film rated 7.1 of out 10 on the Wanda-owned Mtime ticketing and merchandise site, and 6.6 on Douban. The weekend total, however, makes “Skyscraper” only the sixth best opening for a Legendary title in the Middle Kingdom.
With close to 120,000 screenings per day, “Skyscraper” enjoyed $13.4 million on Friday, having previously taken some $400,000 in previews and midnight sessions. It continued its run with $17.6 million on Saturday, and $17.0 million on Sunday. Its $48 million total included $4.4 million from 519 IMAX screens.
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The $48 million in China is higher than the film’s $46 million in two weeks in North America. In China, compared to other recent Johnson vehicles, “Skyscraper” bisects “Rampage” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” Earlier this year, “Rampage” opened with $55 million and went on to score $156 million. “Welcome to the Jungle” opened with $39.2 million, before scoring a cumulative $77.9 million.
China’s own box office and social phenomenon, “Dying to Survive,” took second place in its third weekend on release. It added $26.6 million, for a cumulative score of $426 million after 18 days on release.
Jiang Wen’s “Hidden Man” slipped from second to third place. It earned $10.9 million, for a 10-day cumulative of $77.9 million.
Animation films took the next five chart places. International venture, “Animal Crackers” (aka “Magical Circus”) opened on Saturday and scored $3.68 million. That was good enough for fourth place behind the top three. Chinese holdover animation “New Happy Dad and Son 3: Adventure in Russia” earned $1.21 million for a 17-day cumulative of $20.4 million.
Global Road’s “Showdogs” saw its screen count halved from Friday to Saturday, but managed $1.20 million in three days. “Sherlock Gnomes” detected $1.02 million. Chinese fantasy-animation “Wind Guardians” scored $980,000, with nearly all of that coming on Sunday, when it ranked fifth overall.
Live action, “Animal World” brought up tenth place. It earned $540,000 for a 24-day cumulative of $74.4 million.