Chinese New Year movies continued to drive the global and international box office this weekend, after their astonishing Covid-era debuts last frame. Leaders last session, Detective Chinatown 3 and Hi Mom, both crossed the RMB 4B mark locally, with each at an estimated RMB 4.02B ($621M) cume through Sunday. This is after just 10 days of play for each film, and boosts both up the all-time charts
The current Maoyan-estimated grosses put Hi, Mom and DC3 within striking distance of topping Avengers: Endgame’s RMB 4.24B ($629.1M) total in China. Hi, Mom, a time-travel comedy from comedian-turned-filmmaker Jia Ling that has benefited from great word of mouth, is projected to become the No. 2 all-time highest-grossing film in China with a Maoyan-estimated final of RMB 5.17B ($799M). These figures are subject to change over the film’s evolution, but should they hold, Hi, Mom would slot in above 2019’s Nezha and behind 2017’s Wolf Warrior 2. Detective Chinatown 3 for its part is looking at a finish, per Maoyan, of RMB 4.36B ($673M). Also enjoying a strong weekend was A Writer’s Odyssey with a cume through Sunday of RMB 728.1M ($112.6M).
Since the Lunar New Year period began on February 12, all movies in China grossed an estimated RMB 10.1B ($1.56B) combined through Sunday — or 71% of the full 2020 North American box office. Since the beginning of 2021, China’s takings are estimated at RMB 13.88B ($2.15B), or 98% of North America across all 2020 and 69% of China’s total 2020.
Of course, all numbers for2020/2021 will come with a giant asterisk, but part of what we are seeing is how China managed to get back up and running. And regardless of comps between the markets, what we keep hearing is how this demonstrates that people want to experience movies together.
Detective Chinatown 3, despite a sizeable drop off from its record breaking opening last weekend, has now grossed $33M in IMAX and has become the third-highest grossing local language title in IMAX history. IMAX box office represents 5.3% of the overall $620M+ gross in China (on just 1% of screens).
That all films in China grossed the equivalent of $24M this weekend, which included workdays, is hopefully a sign that moviegoing can return elsewhere, when, as we’ve noted, folks feel safe and there is intriguing new product on offer.
The next couple of weeks will likely be muted in the Middle Kingdom, led by the holdover performance of the CNY movies. Warner Bros’ Tom & Jerry is due in on February 26.
That films is currently open in 16 offshore markets where it has cumed $4.4M. Based on the classic cartoon, it ranked No. 1 in Brazil ($746K) and Mexico ($395K) this frame. Iceland also opened this weekend to record breaking results as the biggest bow for a film released during Covid. Next week adds domestic as well as 20 more offshore markets including China, Russia and Korea.
Elsewhere, Disney/Pixar’s Soul crossed Inside Out to become the highest grossing Pixar release ever in Russia ($15.6M cume). It also now stands as the highest grossing Pixar release in Ukraine ($1.8M) and the highest grossing Disney release of all time in Saudi Arabia ($5.9M). Soul opened to $400K in Hong Kong this weekend, 29% ahead of Onward and with strong social scores. The full session was good for $2.6M in nine markets and lifts the offshore cume to $108.2M. China still leads at $57.7M, followed by Russia, Korea ($14.8M), Taiwan ($6.4M) and Saudi Arabia.
Sony Pictures International Productions had the top two films this weekend in Russia with Konyek Gorbunok (Upon The Magic Roads), a local language family adventure that debuted to $1.9M from 2,100+ screens. The film is based on the beloved Russian fairy tale and tells the story of John the Fool and his friend Foal as they set out on a series of unpredictable adventures in different magical worlds. Meanwhile, Rodnye (The Relatives), a holdover from last weekend, added $881K for a market cume of $4.3M.
Warner Bros’ The Little Things took another $1.9M in 28 markets for an international cume of $8M and a worldwide total of $19.8M. Australia opened to No. 1 with $1.4M, topping comps like Prisoners (+60%), The Commuter (+58%) and The Accountant (+12%).
DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s The Croods: A New Age picked up another $423K from 17 markets to cume $103M overseas. The global total is $154M. And, still playing in 43 offshore markets is WB/DC’s Wonder Woman 1984 which opened to a No. 2 $502K in Hong Kong this session and is now at $116.8M offshore for $159.5M worldwide.