Chinese war film, “The Eight Hundred” was the highest scoring film in the world over the weekend.
According to data from Artisan Gateway, “The Eight Hundred” grossed $69 million between Friday and Sunday, its second weekend on release in China. That compares with the $53 million total achieved by “Tenet” in the 41 international territories where it debuted in the past days.
The Guan Hu-directed, Huayi Bros.-distributed “Eight Hundred” earned $19.5 million on Friday, topped that with $26 million on Saturday and added $24 million on Sunday. The weekend total represents a strong holdover performance, down only 11% on its opening weekend score of $79.6 million.
The spectacle continued to play well on premium large format screens. Over the weekend “The Eight Hundred” earned another $3.5m from 633 Imax screens, pushing the Imax cume to $15.6m, or 6% of the movie’s overall gross in China.
After 10 days of official release, plus bountiful previews, “The Eight Hundred” has accumulated a $277 million running total.
While “The Eight Hundred” dominated proceedings, it did not have everything its own way. Locally-made time-warping romance “Love You Forever” came in second with $9.9 million over the weekend. Earlier last week, it enjoyed a Tuesday opening designed to capture the hype of Chinese Valentine’s Day and earned a $40.1 million debut. After six days in cinemas it has a $60.5 million cumulative.
Re-released Christopher Nolan title “Inception” earned $2.95 million in third place. “Onward” made 2.03 million for a total of $5.90 million. “Little Women” earned $1.92 million over the weekend, for a China total of $4.74 million. Its international cumulative stands at $109 million and its global total is $217 million.
More than 90% of Chinese cinemas by market share are now open, although they continue to operate with capacity restrictions allowing them to sell only half their available tickets.
The weekend aggregate was $92.8 million, a fraction ahead of the $90.5 million notched up the previous weekend. Artisan Gateway calculates that year-to-date box office in China is now $828 million, still down 87% on the same date in 2019.
In the last few days, U.K.-based research firm Gower Street Analytics declared that China had become the first national box office to return to normality. The company ranks box on a scale of one to five, with stage five or normality achieved once business over a week is equivalent to the top quartile of weekly earnings from the past two years. After that point, a particular market “should react as normal, with an ebb and flow dependent on the release calendar,” Gower Street explains.
The box office in China should be set for a further shot in the arm when “Tenet” opens on Sept. 4. Local sources suggest “Tenet” is capable of a $40 million opening weekend in China.
“Mulan” has been approved for release in China but does not yet have a date. Similarly, there is no release date yet for “The New Mutants,” or “The Invisible Man” which their studios have said will have theatrical releases in China.