China recorded an unchanged top five films and its weakest box office weekend since Chinese New Year. Nationwide gross box office was just $18.6 million.

Comedy drama film “Give Me Five” held on to the top spot for the third week, with a weekend score of $6.3 million (RMB43.3 million), according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. It now has a cumulative of $46.4 million since release on Sept. 9, 2022.

The film is the story of a young man who is helping his father rediscover his lost memories. As he does so, he is transported back in time and accidentally alters his parent’s pasts. That means he must reunite the pair or risk never being born. It stars Ma Li Chang Yuan and Wei Xiang and is directed by Zhang Luan.

Light Chaser’s animated “New Gods: Yang Jian” again took second place, with a weekend score reduced to $2.8 million. Released on Aug. 19, 2022, the film now has a cumulative of $70.0 million.

“Moon Man,” a previous box office number one, was in stationary orbit and ranked third again over the latest weekend. Its $2.6 million score contributed to a cumulative haul of $442 million since release on July 29, 2022.

Hong Kong-made family comedy-drama “Table for Six” took fourth place again. It earned $2.1 million in its third weekend, lifting its 17-day cumulative to $11.0 million.

“Song of Spring” retained fifth place in its third weekend. It earned $1.3 million for a $9.8 million cumulative total.

The slow performances reflect the continuing drought in major new releases. Hollywood and other imported films are few and far between these days in China and the most commercial Chinese-made productions cluster around major public holidays.

One upcoming next week – the October 1 National day holiday – has in previous years become a launch pad for major entertainment and patriotic titles. But with a welter of uncertainties (COVID lockdowns, political considerations and consumer spending hit by a weakening economy and the property market crisis) few box office records are being forecast.

“For the National Day holiday, the short notice nature of [film prelease] approvals means competitive performance will rely heavily on word-of-mouth,” said Artisan Gateway.

The company calculates that year-to-date aggregate box office is $3.70 billion. That is 26% adrift of 2021 performance at the same point last year.