You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Box Office: Patriotic Local Titles Rule Quiet Pre-Holiday Weekend

In a muddled pre-holiday weekend, patriotism rather than any individual film was the box office winner in China.

The upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, which will officially be celebrated Tuesday, has already affected the film-releasing calendar for weeks.

Over the past weekend, the top-scoring films were “The Captain” (previously known as “The Chinese Pilot”) and “Quomolangma” (aka “The Climbers”), neither of which officially release until Monday. Both were given wide previews on Saturday, earning $8.3 million and $6.42 million, respectively, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.

Another patriotic drama, “My Country, My People,” similarly previewed on Saturday, ahead of a Monday release. Directed by a medley of top directors including Chen Kaige, Ning Hao and Wen Muye, and boasting an ensemble cast that includes Ge You, Huang Bo, Liu Haoran and Kara Hui, it achieved a more modest single-day score of $1.81 million.

Over the three days from Friday to Sunday, holdover title “The Last Wish” placed third with a score of $3.1 million, for a cumulative of $37.5 million after three weekends, according to Artisan Gateway. “Mao Zedong 1949” scored $3 million for a running total of $14.5 million after two weekends. And “Little Q” earned $2.5 million for a total of $15.5 million since Sept. 20.

Taken together, all films at the Chinese box office earned an aggregate $36.6 million over the weekend. That leaves the year-to-date total 3% down on 2018, with a cumulative income of $6.65 billion. The shortfall reflects a weak year for Chinese films, stemming from a production slowdown that began from midsummer last year and a stricter censorship regime.

Such problems could briefly be forgotten if the National Day holiday releases prove to be blockbusters. On Monday afternoon, “My Country” appeared to be leading the pack with a $30 million haul.

Directed by Hong Kong’s Andrew Lau, “The Captain” recounts the fact-based tale of a commercial pilot who brought his plane back to safety after the windscreen shattered and sucked out the co-pilot.

Directed by another Hong Konger, Daniel Lee, “The Climbers” is a retelling of a daring 1960 ascent of Mt. Everest from the treacherous north side. The film stars Wu Jing, Zhang Ziyi and Jackie Chan and was produced by the state-controlled Shanghai Film Studio.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Film director and scriptwriter Vojtech Jasny

    Vojtech Jasny, Award-Winning Czech Filmmaker, Dies at 93

    Czech filmmaker Vojtech Jasny, director of “All My Good Countrymen,” which won the best director prize at Cannes in 1969, has died. He was 93. According to the Associated Press, Slovacke divadlo, a theatre he frequently visited, said that Jasny died Friday, and a family representative confirmed his death to the CTK news agency. Jasny [...]

  • Noelle Anna Kendrick

    Film Review: 'Noelle' on Disney Plus

    What do you get when you toss together Christmas cheer, Christmas kitsch, a fish-out-of-the-North-Pole setup swiped from “Elf,” and a plot that turns on whether Kris Kringle’s daughter, played as a perky naïf by Anna Kendrick, has what it takes to step into her dad’s snow boots? You get a plastic icicle like “Noelle,” Long [...]

  • Scandalous

    Film Review: 'Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer'

    When grocery store shoppers snag a copy of Weekly World News (the rag responsible for the refuses-to-die “Bat Child” hoax), they know they’re getting fake news. But when they pick up the National Enquirer, it’s a far more ambiguous prospect. Enquirer headlines are deliberately provocative, shouting details of the private lives of real people — [...]

  • Cynthia Erivo

    Cynthia Erivo Almost Gave Up Singing to Become a Spinal Surgeon

    Before Cynthia Erivo went on to become a Tony and Grammy winner, she nearly gave up singing to be a spinal surgeon. In her “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” conversation with Alfre Woodard, the “Harriet” star said she had been singing since she was toddler. Her mother noticed she’d hum while eating her food when [...]

  • Alfre Woodard Cynthia Erivo Variety Actors

    How Cynthia Erivo and Alfre Woodard Found Deeper Meaning in ‘Harriet’ and ‘Clemency’

    Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) and Alfre Woodard (“Clemency”) sat down for a chat for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” For more, click here. Cynthia Erivo and Alfre Woodard are at the forefront of this year’s awards conversation for two prestige films directed by black women. In Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency,” a movie that won the Sundance Grand [...]

  • Rocketman Taron Egerton

    'Rocketman' Hair and Make-Up Artist Talks Transforming Taron Egerton

    Hair and make-up artist Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou sums up “Rocketman” as the story “of a great icon who hits rock bottom. You see the great things happen and he hits rock bottom. By the end, he’s pulled himself together and he’s still standing.” For the viewer, it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotion, but as Yianni-Georgiou says, [...]


    Box Office: 'Ford v Ferrari' Dashing to No. 1 While 'Charlie's Angels' Flounders

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon’s racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” is set to win the weekend box office by a long shot with an esimated $29 million from 3,528 domestic locations. Elizabeth Banks’ “Charlie’s Angels” reboot could land in a distant second in its debut weekend with about $8.2 million, but the second frame of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content