×

China Box Office: ‘Looking Up’ Is Surprise Weekend Winner Ahead of ‘Lion King’

Actor and comedian Deng Chao underlined his enduring popularity with mainstream Chinese audiences by delivering a surprise No. 1 box-office hit in “Looking Up” over the weekend. It scored $38.6 million in its opening frame, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway, and displaced “The Lion King” from its perch.

“Looking Up” is a family comedy about a father’s close and pedagogical relationship with his son. The narrative stretches from the son’s unconventional childhood to his meditative moments while in space as an astronaut.

Deng (“Shadow,” “Duckweed,” “The Mermaid”) stars as the father. He co-directed the film with Yu Baimei from a script by Yu (“The Breakup Guru”).

The film had an unconventional Thursday opening, when it scored $9.21 million. Friday was worth $9.85 million, while Saturday and Sunday each delivered scores of close to $15 million. After four days, its cumulative score is $62 million, according to Artisan Gateway.

The Lion King,” which released in China a week ahead of its North American and global rollouts, earned $20.8 million – a 62% tumble from its opening weekend – for a 10-day cumulative of $97.1 million. “Lion King” shared Imax screens with “Looking Up” (and next week will share with “Nezha” as well), and has scored $2.6 million to date on the giant-screen circuit in China.

Third place belonged to Hong Kong action film “The White Storm 2: Drug Lords” in its third weekend of release. “White Storm” picked up $13.9 million, for a total of $172 million since its July 5 debut.

An animated version of a classic Chinese tale, “Nezha” opened in fourth place with $8.6 million. As is typical of films targeting young audiences, it played quietly on Friday, before moving up the rankings on Saturday and Sunday. It is directed by Yang Yu, who also goes by the name Jiaozi, or “dumpling” in English.

The chart results underline the powerful position of online ticketing firms in Chinese releasing. Looking Up” is backed by Maoyan, while “Nezha” is backed by Enlight, Maoyan’s major shareholder.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which opened fast but dropped quickly too, added $3.6 million over the weekend to hit $201 million after 10 days.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

  • Robert Zemeckis

    Robert Zemeckis in Talks to Direct Live-Action 'Pinocchio' for Disney (EXCLUSIVE)

    Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct Disney’s live-action “Pinocchio.” Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. “Paddington” director Paul King had originally been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content