“Free Guy” has retained enough charm to stay at second in China in its fourth weekend in theaters, but it slid in just a mere hair ahead of Chinese titles setting themselves up for box office success over the current Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
The 20th Century Studios film starring Ryan Reynolds grossed $4.8 million in the three days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing its China cumulative so far up to $85.1 million, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.
Surpassing “Free Guy” to score first this weekend was new release “Cloudy Mountain” from China Film Co. The effects-heavy disaster film grossed $19.1 million over its three-day opening. It tells the story of a father and son who try to save the residents of a small town and a newly-built tunnel threatened by natural disasters.
Chinese citizens this week worked on Saturday in order to have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off this year to fete the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, effectively shifting the start of the three-day weekend back a day.
New films targeting holiday movie-goers released Sunday. Among them is “All About My Mother,” a tear-jerking family drama about the evolving relationship between a mother with a terminal illness and her daughter that came in only slightly behind “Free Guy” with $4.7 million after just one day of sales.
“To Be With You,” a romantic drama from Shanghai Aimmedia Pictures, also opened Sunday and earned $2.6 million, hitting fifth.
In third behind “Cloudy Mountain” and “Free Guy” over the standard Friday through Sunday weekend was the Donnie Yen-starring actioner “Raging Fire,” which earned $4.5 million, bringing its China cume up to $194 million — more than $10 million more than “Black Widow” grossed in North America.
None of the titles grossed enough to get China’s 2021 box office to date back up to speed. Collectively, the country’s three-day weekend box office was only $40.8 million. The total 2021 box office to-date of $5.22 billion is down 27% from the comparable point in 2019, according to Artisan Gateway.
An infusion of new blockbusters both local and foreign coming up may kick things out of the doldrums. Big-budget spectacles are set to hit over the upcoming Oct. 1 National Day holiday, as well as in late October, with Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” set to release Oct. 22 and James Bond film “No Time to Die” to hit Oct. 29.
Watch the trailer for “Cloudy Mountain” below.