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China’s ‘Billionaire’ Earns $131 Million in Its Opening Weekend

By far the biggest film of the weekend outside North America, China’s “Hello Mr. Billionaire” opened with $131 million in its home territory.

The comedy was far ahead of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which earned $92 million in international markets, plus a further $61.5 million in North America, for a global total of $153.5 million.

“Billionaire” is the latest product from the team – director Yan Fei and writer Peng Damo – behind 2015 surprise hit “Goodbye My Loser.” It sees a failing soccer player challenged to spend $147 million (RMB1 billion) in a single month.

The film was released in competition with the fourth installment in one of Chinese film’s most beloved franchises, “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings.” That scored $42.5 million over the same three-day period. On any other weekend, figures for “Detective Dee” might have been considered a triumph. But exhibitors quickly moved to support the runaway success of “Billionaire” over the fantasy adventure.

On Friday “Billionaire” scored $32.5 million from 138,000 screening sessions, according to data from Ent Group. On Saturday it was expanded to 155,000 screenings and earned $45.7 million. On Sunday, it went further, earning $51.8 million from 165,000 screenings.

“Detective Dee” delivered $15.8 million on Friday from 112,000 screenings. On Saturday it earned $14.2 million from 96,000 screenings and $12.3 million from 88,000 screenings.

The large complex of IMAX screens in China enjoyed a selection of three films. “Detective Dee” earned $2.5 million, while “Billionaire” and “Skyscraper” earned a combined $1.5 million.

“Skyscraper” was the No. 3 movie of the weekend in China. It earned $6.87 million, from a daily 20,000 screenings, for a 10-day cumulative of $85.8 million.

China’s “Dying to Survive,” another phenomenon at the Chinese box office, earned $4.65 million in its fourth weekend. After 23 days of release, “Dying” has earned $444 million, making it the third biggest film of this year and the fifth highest grossing film of all time in China.

Animation, “Animal Crackers” (aka “Magical Circus”) was the fourth-placed film and the only other this weekend to cross $1 million. It earned $1.22 million, for a nine-day cumulative of $6.75 million.

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