On its first weekend in China the film grossed $137 million, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.
That gave it an 83% share of the China weekend box office, a market share figure that was notably stable from its Friday lights out. Total box office in the country was $165 million between Friday and Sunday.
Some $12.45 million of the “F9” total was earned from Imax screens in China. That was Imax’s third biggest May opening score (behind “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and Universal’s second-best China opening weekend in Imax venues behind “Fate of the Furious.” The giant screen provider calculates that earning 9% of the nationwide box office from just 1% of the screens showing the film, is a franchise-best result.
The runaway win was achieved despite a mediocre critical reception in China. On the fan review site Douban “F9” earned only a 5.6 out of ten critical rating. On the more generous ticketing platforms Mtime and Taopiaopiao it earned only slightly better scores of 6.2 and 7.8, respectively.
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Artisan Gateway, nevertheless, calculates that the powerful performance was good for overall health of the theatrical economy. Its data shows that the year-to-date box office cumulative is now $3.86 billion, only 6.5% down on pre-COVID 2019. A week earlier, the gap had been 10%.
Gritty Chinese romance, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” released a day earlier than “F9” on Thursday in order to coincide with (yet another) local Valentine’s Day. It earned $15.6 million on Thursday and a further $15.1 million between Friday and Sunday, good enough for second place in the local chart.
Previous chart-topper, Zhang Yimou’s “Cliff Walkers” was edged into third place by the two new releases and earned $5.1 million over the weekend. That lifted its cumulative to $164 million since its pre-May Day release on April 30.
Japanese film “Love Letter” was re-released on Thursday and managed $4.1 million over the weekend and $7.4 million over four days.