×

China Box Office: Weekend Chart Dominated By Non-Chinese Films

Unusually, all of the top five films at the China box office this weekend were non-Chinese. That’s a relatively rare occurrence, as audiences typically favor local films over foreign content. But it is one that may happen more often, as high-performing local titles become fewer and farther between due to production slowdowns.

The lack of strong local titles is also having a negative impact on the overall box office. Data from Artisan Gateway shows China’s year to date cumulative grosses down 4%, at $3.79 billion.

Legendary Pictures’ title “Detective Pikachu” led the pack in its second weekend in Chinese theaters, bringing in $17.8 million for a total of $69.3 million in the Middle Kingdom, making it the most successful territory for the film so far outside of North America. In ten days the furry yellow critter has already helped the film pull in more than Warner Brothers’ superhero flick “Shazam!”, which made only $43.7 million in China last month.

In second place was Amblin Entertainment’s “A Dog’s Journey,” which took $11.1 million in its China opening weekend — beating its $8 million U.S. debut. The film has received just 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Chinese audiences have been much more forgiving, giving it a 9.3 and 8.9 out of 10 on top user review platforms Maoyan and Tao Piaopiao, respectively. The film was directed by Gail Mancuso and is a sequel to 2017’s “A Dog’s Purpose,” which took in more than $88 million in China.

There are China connections for both titles: Legendary is owned by China’s Dalian Wanda. Amblin counts China’s Alibaba as a key investor.

Avengers: Endgame” held strong at third, despite nearly 30 days in theaters. It took in $7.9 million, bringing its total gross to a whopping $610 million in China — nearly double “Avengers: Infinity War”’s $360 million.

In fourth was Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” which debuted at Cannes in the main competition last year. Having brought in another $3.6 million over the weekend, it has now grossed an incredible $48.6 million in China, making it thirty times more successful in the territory than in any other. On the Croisette earlier this week, Labaki expressed her surprise and delight at its success, saying “it’s something totally new, it’s a big surprise for me.”

Indian 2017 crime thriller “Mom” — superstar Sridevi’s last major film appearance, given her untimely death last February — ranked fifth, bringing in $2.5 million in its second weekend in theaters. It stars the actress as a furious mother seeking revenge after her stepdaughter is sexually assaulted at a party. A spokesman from India’s Zee Studios had previously told Variety that it hoped Chinese audiences would “be able to relate to this powerful story of a strong female character’s journey.” Online ticketing platforms predict it will make just over $14 million (RMB100 million) in China over the course of its run.

The pipeline of local Chinese content has dried up due to a production slowdown brought about by new regulatory changes and a government crackdown on industry taxes. Insiders do not expect a return to normal until Q4 or Q1 2020.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Matthew Modine

    Supporters Back Matthew Modine After Clumsy Joke at SAG-AFTRA Meeting

    More than 100 women, including Ellen Barkin and Allison Janney, have voiced support for Matthew Modine’s campaign for SAG-AFTRA presidency, following a joke at a SAG-AFTRA meeting that some decried as misogynist. With voting set to conclude on Aug. 28, the campaigns have featured vitriolic attacks between supporters of Modine, secretary-treasurer Jane Austin and incumbent [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Writers Guild Withdraws State Suit Against Agencies, Refiles in Federal Court

    The Writers Guild of America has withdrawn its state court suit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners alleging packaging fees are illegal and re-filed suit in federal court. The WGA also responded to antitrust claims brought against the guild by the three agencies. Those agency suits alleged that the WGA abused its power in [...]

  • Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart

    Tim Roth to Receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award

    British actor Tim Roth is to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to the art of film.” The ceremony at the Sarajevo Film Festival will be held on Tuesday. He will hold a masterclass on the same day. His first screen role was the lead in the controversial [...]

  • Isabelle Huppert, receives the Honorary Heart

    Isabelle Huppert on Fateful Encounters, the Nature of Acting and Judging a Good Script

    Celebrated actress Isabelle Huppert, speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival on Sunday, looked back on her illustrious career in a candid discussion that touched on her acting, the many renowned directors with whom she’s worked, and the importance of dialogue. The festival honored Huppert with its Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award “in recognition of her [...]

  • Inauguracion SANFIC 2019

    15th Sanfic Touts Attendance Rise, Hosts Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura

    SANTIAGO — Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) launched its 15th edition Sunday Aug. 18 with three of Latin America’s best-known actors, Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura (“Narcos”) and Graciela Borges (“La Cienaga”), to which it bestowed career recognition awards. “It’s been 15 years in which we have presented more than 1,400 films,” noted Francisca [...]

  • Sarajevo, Intl. Casting Directors Network Look

    Sarajevo Film Festival and International Casting Directors Network Look to Launch Local Stars

    The Intl. Casting Directors Network (ICDN) and the Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to turn the popular Bosnian film fest into a springboard for regional actors looking to launch international careers. After kicking off with a pilot version last year, the initiative expanded to include a series of masterclasses with leading casting directors and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content