“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” flew to the top of China’s box office this weekend, earning $26 million. That marked the fourth-largest opening of all time for an animated Hollywood film in the Middle Kingdom.
It also marked the best opening of the year for a foreign animated feature. The figure beat earlier studio projections of $17.5 million for the three-day weekend.
Though already in its third weekend, “Aquaman” stayed a close second in China with a three-day intake of $23.4 million. With a cumulative gross of $233 million, the undersea epic is now one of Warner Bros.’ most profitable titles ever in the country.
The two sailed high above three other local films that all opened Friday. Supernatural slapstick local comedy “Airpocalypse” came in third with $12.3 million, trailed by Chinese historical martial arts flick “Kung Fu Monster” with $7.53 million. “Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy” opened with $6.03 million in its opening weekend.
Hayao Miyazaki’s 30-year-old classic “My Neighbor Totoro” came in sixth, with a $3.17 million take that bumped its 10-day gross to $20 million. It was followed by Indian drama “Padman,” which earned $730,000 this weekend.
Despite the holiday season, Illumination’s animated film “The Grinch” still could not charm Chinese audiences, coming in eighth place with a cumulative box office total of just $3.52 million in 10 days.
“Spider-Verse” may have swung to victory this week, but its opening performance still fell far behind that of other top Hollywood animated titles in China. Last summer’s “Despicable Me 3” continues to lead the pack thanks to its $64 million opening, while 2016’s “Kung Fu Panda 3” brought in $53.3 million in its debut.
It was unusual for “Spider-Verse” to get a late December release date during what is usually a blackout period for foreign films during China’s prime moviegoing period. This year, however, authorities admitted a number of non-Chinese titles in what is likely a last-minute push to boost the country’s box office growth figures.
The Aamir Khan vehicle “Thugs of Hindostan” and the Netflix dog-centric family drama “Benji” are two more foreign films set for theatrical release before the end of the year, with both opening on Dec. 28.