China Hits Highest Single-Day Ticket Sales of the Year, Notching Its Second-Biggest National Day Earnings Ever

Jiang Ziya
Courtesy of Well Go USA

The Chinese box office hit its highest single-day tally of the year so far on Thursday, reaching $107 million (RMB728 million), more than 10 times what North American cinemas made in the whole of last weekend. That sum marks China’s second largest Oct. 1 National Day box office in history, a feat achieved even as cinemas continue to operate at just 75% capacity.

Thursday was this year a dual holiday coincidentally marked by both the Mid-Autumn Festival and the first day of the week-long National Day vacation, typically one of the busiest times for cinemas.

Meanwhile, to compare, the total gross for North American over the latest three-day weekend period was just $9.26 million. Relative levels of movie-going are of course tied to progress in battling the pandemic: China logged just 11 new coronavirus cases nationwide on Wednesday, whereas the U.S. logged 43,114.

Leading China’s box office Thursday was Enlight’s hotly anticipated animation “Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification,” a sequel of sorts from the same cinematic universe as last summer’s breakout animation hit “Nezha,” which went on to become China’s second-highest grossing film ever.

It opened strong at number one with $52.7 million, according to data from industry tracker Maoyan — setting a record for the highest single-day ticket sales for an animated title in China of all time. It also opened Thursday in select U.S. theaters, distributed by Well Go USA.

In second was the patriotic film purpose-made for the National Day holiday, “My People, My Homeland,” which grossed $39.3 million on its opening day. Produced by Beijing Culture, the omnibus film is executive produced by Zhang Yimou and features shorts from top directors Ning Hao, Xu Zheng, Chen Sicheng, Yan Fei, Peng Damo, Deng Chao and Yu Baimei.

The Jackie Chan-starring actioner “Vanguard,” directed by Stanley Tong, came in third on its second day in theaters, with earnings of $8.25 million bringing its two-day cume up to $16.8 million. The film is also set to open Friday in the Ukraine and later this month in Russia via distributor Trinity CineAsia, which also holds rights in the U.K. and Ireland.

Peter Chan’s “Leap,” which opened last week, came in fourth with $6.34 million, while “The Eight Hundred” held its own in sixth, earning $265,000 on its 42nd day in theaters.

A propaganda documentary of the 2019 National Day military parade, a blowout to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, debuted Thursday in seventh, earning $134,400. It was produced by China’s only military-affiliated film studio.