×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Meg’ Opens in Third Place in China Amid Controversy

Monster shark movie “The Meg” thrashed to a third-place finish at the Chinese box office Friday amid controversy over chart-topper “iPartment,” which was accused of artificially boosting its numbers.

The Meg,” a U.S.-China co-production starring Jason Statham and Li Bingbing, was on course to score more than $15 million on its opening day Friday, according to data from China Box Office at 9 p.m. local time. That gives the big-budget horror-action pic a 22% market share.

It appeared to be soundly beaten by local comedy drama “iPartment,” a new release that clocked up more than $45 million. Another Chinese comedy, “The Island,” directed by comedy king Huang Bo and starring Shu Qi, recorded more than $21 million.

But some pundits are already crying foul. They accuse “iPartment’s” distributors of buying more than $15 million (RMB100 million) in tickets to their own movie in order to give the impression of its being a hit.

While the Friday numbers are provisional and “The Meg” could pick up over the weekend, the $15 million opening day is unlikely to be what its backers – Warner Bros., Flagship Entertainment and Gravity Pictures – hoped for. The film, which reportedly cost $150 million to make, is laced with China-friendly elements, such as the casting of Li and Statham and the inclusion of Chinese plot points, that producers no doubt hoped would appeal to audiences in China, the world’s second-biggest movie market.

“The Meg’s” performance Friday is comparable to the opening-day take for “Skyscraper,” the Dwayne Johnson action film that also incorporated Chinese story elements and relied on Middle Kingdom moviegoers to help vindicate its nine-digit budget.

“‘iPartment” (also known as “Love Apartment”) may have other troubles besides the allegations of mass ticket-buying. It appears to be a movie adaptation of a Chinese sitcom that ran for four seasons from 2009 and that was criticized for ripping off “Friends.” However, viewers say it is not a romantic comedy and that there may be lawsuits for illegal use of the title.

More Film

  • UGC Distribution Closes on Mariano Cohn’s

    Ventana Sur: UGC Distribution Closes Market Hit ‘4 x 4’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — UGC Distribution has beaten out all other suitors to clinch what had became by Friday morning the most anticipated deal of this year’s Ventana Sur market: All rights to France on Argentine Mariano Cohn’s “4 x 4,” sold by Latido Films and distributed throughout Argentina by Disney. After mounting speculation about which [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Hits $152 Million at International Box Office

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” has already grossed more than $150 million outside the U.S., Michael Masini joins “Birds of Prey,” and Freestyle buys the documentary “Shamanic Trekker.” BOX OFFICE Warner Bros.’ tentpole “Aquaman” has taken in $152 million overseas in 36 markets, with $135 million of that from China, where it opened on [...]

  • 'Winter's Night' Review: Enigmatic, Offbeat Korean

    Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night'

    There are thousands of films about love’s beginning, and a great many about love’s end. But far fewer deal with a relationship’s late-middle: the spreading, sluggish delta of coupledom when decades of familiarity, if they have not bred contempt, at least threaten irritation. “Winter’s Night,” Jang Woo-jin’s playfully melancholic third feature, after the acclaimed “A [...]

  • Tomasz Kot UTA

    UTA Signs ‘Cold War’ Star Tomasz Kot (EXCLUSIVE)

    UTA has signed “Cold War” star Tomasz Kot. He has appeared in more than 30 films and 26 plays as well as dozens of television series. Most recently, Kot has received award-season buzz for his starring role as Wiktor in Pawel Pawlikowski’s feature “Cold War” for Amazon. The project has earned him a nomination for [...]

  • Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening

    Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening Palm Springs Film Festival

    The 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will open on Jan. 3 with historical drama “All Is True,” starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen. Branagh, who will be in attendance at the opening night screening, directed from Ben Elton’s script about the little-known period in the final years of William Shakespeare. Branagh [...]

  • Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies

    Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies at 77

    Actor, activist and influentials member of the Japanese American community, Rodney Kageyama, died in his sleep Dec. 9. He was 77. The SAG member was known for roles in “Karate Kid IV” with Hillary Swank, Ron Howard’s film “Gung Ho” and the spinoff sitcom, and the TV movie “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” with Max [...]

  • Most Popular Films 2018: The Best

    9 Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by This Year's Most Popular Films

    From superheroes to super nannies, 2018 was a year full of memorable characters — and memorable movies. Whether you’re a big film buff, an avid follower of a popular franchise, or have a couple movie fans in your life, here are nine gifts that capture the fun of some of this year’s biggest films. 1. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content