China’s box office slowed to one of its lowest points of the year this week, bringing in a total of just $24.6 million over the three-day weekend, the last before the break-out of patriotic National Day holiday blockbusters arriving Sept. 30, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.
That leaves China’s $5.3 billion year-to-date box office an enormous 27% lower than the $7.3 billion box office accrued by the same point in 2019.
Any competitive title releasing this past weekend would have seen its box office cannibalized by “The Battle at Changjin Lake” and “My Country, My Parents,” major government-promoted films debuting hit Thursday that will be guaranteed strong sales due to their political nature in a particularly politically symbolic year (the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party).
The holiday period running through the first week of October is also an annual unofficial blackout period on foreign titles. That interval is set to end by Oct. 22 this year with the arrival of Dennis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” which will be distributed in China by Legendary Pictures. It will be followed by another major Hollywood release: “No Time to Die,” arriving Oct. 29.
This week, leading the lackluster pack for the second weekend in a row was local disaster rescue film “Cloudy Mountain,” which grossed a further $10.6 million to bring its cume up to $58.2 million, Artisan Gateway data showed.
It was followed by the weepy “All About My Mother,” a morality tale about spending time with and appreciating one’s parents, which grossed $4.2 million.
20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy” hung in the top five a month after its Aug. 27 China debut with sales this weekend of $2.5 million. It has now grossed $94.2 million in China, coming up not so far behind its domestic gross of $114 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Just behind “Free Guy” was action film “Raging Fire,” which earned a further $2.4 million, and has now grossed an impressive $202 million in China.
Local youth romance “To Be With You” grossed $1.2 million to hit fifth.