“Crazy Alien,” a comedy caper by hit-making director Ning Hao, led the box office in China on the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday period. By 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the film had earned $55 million in mainland Chinese cinemas.
The top eight movies earned a combined $200 million (RMB1.35 billion) by 7:30 p.m., according to data from China Box Office.
“Crazy Alien,” in which two brothers hope to make a fortune from an alien who lands in their lap, is the third film in Ning’s “Crazy” franchise. It follows 2009 black comedy “Crazy Stone” and 2006 title “Crazy Racer.” Once again it stars Xu Zheng and Huang Bo.
The early score, and a 28% market share, is a solid start for the film, which is backed by Huanxi Media, the stock market listed vehicle in which Ning and Xu are major owners. The company announced last year that distributors had provided a minimum guarantee that “Alien” would achieve $415 million (RMB2.8 billion) in China.
“Pegasus,” by celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han, was in second place with $42 million (RMB282 million) at 7 p.m., for a 21% market share. “New King of Comedy,” a remake of Stephen Chow’s 1999 title, was third. It had earned $36 million (RMB243 million) for a 19% share of the early evening pie.
“Wandering Earth,” heralded as China’s first genuine sci-fi movie, earned $24.8 million (RMB167 million) in fourth place and a 13% market share. “Boonie Bears: Blast Into the Past,” the sixth film in a Chinese animation franchise, earned $10.9 million on its first official day of release. But with previews, it has already amassed $16.8 million. Its producer, Fantawild has gone on record to forecast a result of more than $100 million.
Jackie Chan-starring family friendly historical adventure, “Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang” was in sixth place on Tuesday with $9.3 million by 7 p.m. It was narrowly ahead of Chinese-British animation “Peppa Pig,” which had raked in $9 million. In eighth place was “Integrity,” stuffed with a cast of Hong Kong veterans, which had earned $7.9 million (RMB53 million).
Cinema attendance could increase on subsequent days, following family get-togethers on the first day of celebrations. The Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival) holidays run through the whole of the week in mainland China.