China had a relatively quiet box office weekend, in which holdover Korean War-set title “Sacrifice” led for the third week in a row thanks to $14.4 million in sales, according to data from industry tracker Maoyan.
This week’s most notable new release was the blood-stained, tear-soaked, seaside-set local crime thriller “Back to the Wharf,” which came in second with a $7.09 million debut. It stars Zhang Yu (“Dying to Survive,” “A Cool Fish”) and was directed by Li Xiaofeng. His first feature, the 2014 period drama “Nezha,” premiered in the New Currents section at the Busan International Film Festival that year but made just $82,130 in Chinese theaters.
Patriotic omnibus film “My People, My Homeland,” now well over a month in theaters, came in third with $4.86 million. It has now grossed a cumulative $416 million (RMB2.75 billion), making it one of the world’s biggest films of the year and the 21st highest grossing film of all time in China.
Two Japanese animations rounded out the top five this week: “‘Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna,” which grossed $3.45 million, and the critically acclaimed 2018 film “Mirai,” which premiered Friday and earned $1.23 million across its first three days.
“Mirai,” produced by Tokyo-based Studio Chizu, is the first film from director Mamoru Hosoda to receive a theatrical release in China, two years after its initially debut at Cannes in the independently run Directors’ Fortnight section. It was nominated for best animated feature at the Golden Globes and the Oscars, making it just the sixth anime and first non-Studio Ghibli title to receive an Academy nod.
Yet despite its accolades, the older Japanese film performed just a hair better than the local Chinese animation “Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification,” which grossed $1.1 million this weekend. It has now earned $240 million (RMB1.59 billion) since its Oct. 1 debut, making it the 32nd highest grossing film in China of all time.
No other films cracked the $1 million mark in sales this weekend.
The Neil Marshall-directed “Hellboy” reboot is set to open in Chinese theaters Monday, and made $127,000 from weekend pre-screenings and midnight screenings.
The film ranked as one of the biggest box office flops of 2019, grossing just $22 million stateside and $44.7 million worldwide, despite a production budget of $50 million. Early projections from Maoyan estimate that it will gross less than $7 million in China.