Chinese pet drama, “Adoring” sauntered into 2020 at the head of China’s weekend box office with earnings of $16.8 million after debuting last Tuesday, the final day of the decade. The tear-jerking, but feel-good, ensemble drama about people and their companion cats, dogs and pigs has grossed a cumulative $62.4 million, according to consultancy Artisan Gateway.
China has seen a pack of pet movies hit theaters recent years, including at least three dog films in 2019. American title “A Dog’s Way Home” grossed $5.36 million after it hit in January, while the Dennis Quaid-starring “A Dog’s Journey” made $29 million in May. Chinese golden retriever film “Little Q” earned $16 million in September.
In second place this weekend was Hong Kong martial arts film “Ip Man 4,” which added another $10.5 million to its tally to bring its current cume up to $131 million. Chinese drama “Sheep Without a Shepherd,” directed by Malaysia’s Sam Quah, came in third, making $8.5 million in its fourth weekend in theaters. The remake of the Indian film “Drishyam” has now made $135 million since its mid-December debut.
“Adoring” opened against the Gerard Butler-starring Hollywood action thriller “Angel Has Fallen” and Chinese romantic drama “Begin, Again,” which also released Dec. 31. The Ric Roman Waugh-directed “Angel” has grossed just $6.25 million (RMB43.6 million) putting it on course for a meagre projected total of $9.98 million (RMB69.6 million), according to the Maoyan ticketing platform. “Angel” ranked sixth in ticket sales as of Monday afternoon.
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Only two new releases were scheduled for the past Friday: 20th Century Fox’s animated “Spies in Disguise,” which features the voices of Will Smith and Tom Holland; and Roberto Benigni’s Italian classic “Life is Beautiful,” which won the 1999 Oscar for best foreign language film and was not previously theatrically released in China. The films came in fourth and fifth at the weekend box office, respectively, with the former debuting to the tune of $3.6 million, just a hair above the restored 20-year-old classic, which grossed $3.4 million.
Lately, theatrical releases of decades old films that never had their chance on the Chinese big screen have seen a measure of box office success in China, notably Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away,” which grossed $69 million last summer, and “My Neighbor Totoro,” which brought in $25.8 million at the end of 2018. Late 1990s Italian films now appear to be having a moment: Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1998 drama “The Legend of 1900” recently grossed $20.5 million in November in China.
Meanwhile, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” had fallen to ninth place by Monday, only two spots ahead of “Frozen 2,” which has already been in Chinese cinemas for 46 days and earned almost as much. J.J. Abrams’ film has grossed a meagre $19.4 million in China so far, make it the weakest “Star Wars” franchise instalment in the territory in recent years.