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China Box Office: ‘Nezha’ Breaks Animation Records With $91 Million Opening

Chinese animation “Nezha” broke local records with its $91.5 million opening, the highest ever for an animated film in the Middle Kingdom. The amount also made it the second-highest-grossing film of any kind in the world over the weekend, trailing only “The Lion King,” though it will quickly overtake the Disney title in China.

An animated version of a classic Chinese tale, “Nezha” took in $8.8 million from previews over the previous weekend before getting its official outing last Friday. Its cumulative total at the end of its first official weekend is $103 million, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.

Directed by Yang Yu, who also goes by the name Jiaozi, or “dumpling” in English, “Nezha” opened far ahead of the $65.2 million raked in by “Despicable Me 3.” With $32.7 million earned on Saturday, “Nezha” also claimed the single-day animation record previously held by “Zootopia” in 2016.

Some $7.7 million of that score came from the film’s outing on 618 Imax screens. That is a record for the biggest animated Imax opening and the biggest July opening for Imax in China.

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Benefiting from strong word of mouth, “Nezha” has a score of 8.8 out of 10 on film discussion platform Douban, and 9.7 on online booking service Maoyan. “Nezha” is backed by Enlight, Maoyan’s major shareholder.

Family comedy “Looking Up” slipped from first place with a 55% week-on-week decrease. But after 10 days in theaters, it has passed the $100 million mark to score $107 million.

Previews for fact-based, patriotic, fire-fighting rescue film “The Bravest” point to big things next weekend, when it opens officially. The Bona Film Group-backed picture earned $7.7 million, and took third place.

The Lion King,” which was released in China a week earlier than most other markets, earned $5.8 million in its third week in Middle Kingdom theaters. Its cumulative is $115 million.

Taiwanese comedy “Dancing Elephant” took fifth place with $4.7 million in its opening weekend. The film is the story of a dancer who wakes from a 15-year coma and has to adjust after finding that she has gained a lot of weight. It is released in China with the support of emerging powerhouse Beijing Culture.

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