Cinemas in mainland China remained busy over the latest weekend even a week after the end of the Lunar New Year holiday season and with few significant new release titles.
Aggregate nationwide box office hit $162 million according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. And “The Wandering Earth 2” reclaimed the top spot that it lost on the second day of the holiday period, which officially ran Jan. 21-27.
“The Wandering Earth 2” earned $56.4 million between Friday and Saturday. That gives the sci-fi prequel a running total of $502 million since release on Jan. 22.
“Full River Red” a historical drama directed by the veteran Zhang Yimou, earned $50.1 million over the weekend for a cumulative of $595 million, also since Jan. 22. That is the highest box office performance by one of Zhang’s movies.
In third place, “Boonie Bears: Guardian Code” earned $21 million for a running total of $188 million. That is the highest total for a “Boonie Bears” franchise film.
Children’s animation, “Deep Sea” swam up from fifth place to fourth over the latest weekend. It earned $13.8 million for a cumulative of $98.8 million.
World War II spy thriller “Hidden Blade” slipped by one position to fifth place. It earned $11.6 million for a running total of $117 million since release on Jan. 22.
Artisan Gateway calculates that the year-to-date box office in China now stands at $1.75 billion, which is some 48% ahead of the total at this time of year. But comparisons are tricky given that the Lunar New Year period is a moveable feast, not a fixed date, and a like-for-like calculation only becomes realistic at the end of February.
Further distorting the comparison will be the release of two imported Marvel movies – “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” – this month after a three-year hiatus on China for the franchise. “Wakanda,” which played in November last year in North America and other international territories. Releases in China on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The first “Black Panther” movie released in China in March 2018 and earned $105 million.