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One Piece Film Red” took the top spot at the Chinese box office over the weekend, as one Japanese anime title displaced another.

The title, the 15th in the “One Piece” film franchise based on an animated series by Oda Eiichiro, has been a huge hit in Japan and is now expanding overseas. Up to Nov. 27, it had grossed JPY18.5 billion in its native Japan, making it the to-grossing film of 2022 in the country. It also ranks as the ninth highest grossing film of all time in Japan and the sixth highest ranking anime feature.

In China, “One Piece Film Red” was given a Thursday release. It earned $7.9 million (RMB56 million) between Friday and Sunday and $10.5 million over its opening four days, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.

“Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween,” which had held the top rank for the past two weekends, slipped to second place. Over the weekend, it earned $1.8 million (RMB12.7 million) for a cumulative of $19.4 million since release on Nov. 18.

Top Chinese title, “The Tipping Point” earned RMB6.6 million ($900,000) in its fourth weekend on release. It has now accumulated $21.3 million after nearly four weeks on release.

“Farewell Beijing,” in its third weekend of release, managed RMB4.0 million (approximately $600,000) for a cumulative of $6.2 million.

Homegrown hit, “Homecoming” earned RMB3.1 million (approximately $400,000), incrementally increasing its total to $222 million. That has been earned over a two-month stretch since Sept. 30.

The COVID situation and responses to it continue to dominate business activity in China. New case numbers nationwide have held steady at over 30,000 per day for most of the past week. And the central government on Wednesday last week announced moves that begin to ease away from its strictest control measures.

But implementation remains in the hands of local authorities and is simultaneously moving in different direction, according to the situation in individual provinces, cities and districts. In the last week, the Hainan Island International Film Festival was postponed and Shanghai Disneyland was closed just four days after reopening.

This is making it difficult for the film exhibition and distribution sectors to operate at full capacity and to plan ahead. The scale of the upcoming “Avatar 2” release will be instructive.

Artisan Gateway calculated the nationwide box office total over the latest weekend at just $13.1 million. For the year to date, the total is $4.02 billion, some 36% below 2021 levels.