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China Box Office Weekend Report: Hollywood Pics Underwhelm on Slow Weekend on November 09, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Despite three Hollywood films entering Chinese cinemas over the past week, China's weekend box office totaled just $56.8M, up a slight 5% from last weekend. Four of the top five films were new releases while the remaining holdovers in the top ten dropped an average of 81% from the previous weekend in a crowded market. The box office should receive a much needed boost when Spectre opens Friday.

Ex Files 2: The Backup Strikes Again (前任备胎反战2), a local language rom-com starring Zheng Kai (So Young) and Amber Kuo (Tiny Times Series) took first place this weekend with $17.2 million from ~108K showings. The film had the highest admissions per screening average of any film this weekend with 37 as well as the cheapest average ticket price of $4.71. The film skewed young (nearly 90% under the age of 30) and female (65%) according to online ticketing portal Maoyan. Ex Files 2 will surpass the lifetime cume of its predecessor on Tuesday which grossed ~$20M in early 2014. 

The Scorch Trials, the second installment in the young adult series The Maze Runner, grossed $21.4 million in its first 5 days, nearly doubling the 5-day debut of the original. The Scorch Trials took the weekly crown, but its $14.24 million placed second over the weekend behind Ex Files 2. Films based on American young adult fiction are a tough play in the Chinese marketplace, but they continue to see expanding Mainland audiences; Scorch is skewing younger (16-20 year olds) and more female than the original which was released one year ago. 

In third place, another local language romantic film The Last Woman Standing (剩者为王) starring Shu Qi (The Assassin) and Eddie Peng (To The Fore) found $6.2 from ~64K showtimes this weekend. The China/HK co-produced drama continues the popular "leftover women" theme found in many mainland films these days and unsurprisingly attracted a 77% female audience. The Last Woman Standing will be released in select US and Canadian cities this upcoming Wednesday through China Lion Film. 

Everest failed to make much of an impact in China, scaling to just $11.6 million in 6 days. Universal's action film had a limited window opening Tuesday on 26% of China's screens, before being bombarded with other new releases. Over the weekend it grossed just $6.2 million on 8% of the country's total screens for a fourth place finish.

Rounding out the top five, last weekend's #1 film The Witness (我是证人) tumbled 77% for $4.4 million from ~48K screenings. The Chinese language remake of South Korea's thriller Blind has grossed a respectable $31 million in 10 days.

The Peanuts Movie, the third revenue-sharing import of the week, debuted outside the top five with $3.1 million. Snoopy's image is ubiquitous across China plastered on children's backpacks and t-shirts, but Charlie Brown and his gang are relatively unknown properties in much of the country. With a release date announced just a few weeks ago and minimal marketing, it's no surprise Peanuts couldn't find its footing in China.

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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China Box Office Weekend Report: 'The Witness' Grabs Top Spot as 'Ant-Man' Passes $100M on November 02, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Box office receipts for the October 31-November 1 weekend frame totaled $53.9M, down 13% from last weekend. However thanks in large part to the 7-day National Day Holiday at the beginning of the month, October's monthly box office total was ¥4.2B ($663M), 52% more than last October. Local language films accounted for 72.5% of that total. China's annual box office has now reached ¥36.98B ($5.83B), a full 51% ahead of last year's total at the same time.

This weekend newcomer The Witness (我是证人) unseated Marvel's Ant-Man for the top spot. The Chinese-language remake of a Korean thriller grossed $19.1 million from 3.75M admissions. Boy band heartthrob Lu Han (鹿晗) was clearly the main draw as females aged 21-25 accounted for nearly three-quarters of the film's audience.

Ant-Man fell one spot in its third weekend of release earning $10.7 million from 1.85M admissions. Marvel's tiniest superhero has now crossed the century mark with $101.6 million, outgrossing last year's comp Guardians of the Galaxy. Ant-Man may eke out another few million before it loses most of its screens to Everest and Maze Runner, both opening midweek.

In third place, Hollywood animation Hotel Transylvania 2 brought out family audiences this Halloween weekend, scaring up $8.8 million from 1.64M admissions. The sequel has grossed $12.3 million since opening last Tuesday and has already surpassed the lifetime cume of the original.
Goodbye Mr. Loser (夏洛特烦恼) still has some life going into its second month of release and pulled in $5.5 million from 1.06M admissions. The record-breaking comedy has now earned $223.3 million and will benefit from a 30-day release extension.

Rounding out the top 5, Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke's Mountains May Depart (山河故人) earned $2.8 million from 540K admissions. The arthouse film, Jia's first public release in China in 9 years and most commercially viable film to date, received strong reviews, but failed to attract much of an audience despite a major marketing push and subsidized tickets through online portal Maoyan. Nonetheless, after just three days of release Mountains May Depart has become the director's highest-grossing film ever.  

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Ant-Man' Remains #1; Chinese Audiences Shun 'Pan' on October 26, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Several new releases including Warner Bros' critically maligned Pan were unable to inject life into the Chinese box office this weekend as revenue totaled just $61.6 million, down 29% from last weekend.

Ant-Man and Goodbye Mr. Loser (夏洛特烦恼) retained the top two spots with both films dropping a respectable 48% from last weekend. Marvel's tiniest superhero scored $21.9 million from ~100K screenings over the weekend, bringing its 10-day cume to $81.8 million. The film looks on track to surpass last year's Guardians of the Galaxy and top $100 million. 

Mr. Loser pulled in $11.6 million from ~68,000 showings. The comedy from Beijing theater troupe Kaixin Mahua has earned $211.6 million after 26 days of release and sits as the 3rd highest-grossing Chinese language film of all-time behind Monster Hunt ($391M) and Lost in Hong Kong ($253.4M). It is also China's 7th highest-grossing film of all-time including imports. 

In third place, Japanese anime Detective Conan: Sunflowers of Inferno found $9.0 million from ~73K showtimes in its debut. Even though Conan's opening was far below Stand By Me Doraemon's ($33.7M), the film's relative success at the Chinese box office shows promise for future Japanese imports after restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

Another imported animation, France's The Little Prince dropped a spot in its second weekend yet still earned $5.5 million from just ~28,000 showtimes. The film continues to pack in families and scored the highest average attendance per screening of any top ten film this weekend. The Little Prince has earned $20.9 million after 10 days of release, easily outgrossing Pixar's Inside Out ($15M) thanks in large part due to its universal themes as well as its savvy choice of vocal talent.

Rounding out the top five, newcomer Youth Never Returns (既然青春留不住) couldn't find its post-90s targeted demographic, earning just $4.9 million including last weekend's previews. 

Also worth mentioning, Pan was unable to crack the top five this weekend. Warner Bros' hope that China would save its critical and financial failure was never realistic given the story's relative obscurity there, and sure enough Chinese audiences shunned the film, giving it just $3.5 million since Thursday's debut. Pan opened on 21% of China's screens, but by Sunday it had lost nearly two-thirds of them. 

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Ant-Man' Stomps Competition; 'The Little Prince' Impresses Family Audiences on October 19, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

After their last two films Tomorrowland and Inside Out failed to make waves on the Chinese Mainland, Disney executives can breathe a sigh of relief as the Marvel brand isn't showing any signs of fatigue in the world's second biggest film market.

Ant-Man (蚁人) earned an impressive $42.3 million on its opening weekend from ~175K showtimes, scoring the second-highest 3-day debut for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film in China behind this summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron ($68M). Marvel's tiniest superhero also bested Guardians of the Galaxy's 3-day bow by nearly 40% -- that film, also without a well-known roster of Marvel superheroes, earned $95 million after opening in a similar October frame last year. Ant-Man will benefit from little in the way of local or Hollywood competition until Everest opens on November 3 and seems poised to break $100 million.

In second place this weekend, autumn's "black horse" Goodbye Mr. Loser (夏洛特烦恼) held strong, dropping just 43% for $22.1 million from ~100K showtimes. The comedy from Beijing theater troupe Kaixin Mahua has grossed $188.5M since opening during the National Holiday and has moved into the top ten highest-grossing films of all-time in China. It is also the 3rd highest-grossing 2D film of all-time behind Lost in Hong Kong and its predecessor Lost in Thailand. Stateside, the film became distributor China Lion's highest-grossing release ever with $913K.

French animation The Little Prince (小王子) boasted an excellent opening weekend of $10.8 million from ~66K showtimes. The well-received film is an imported "buy-out" film; unlike "profit-sharing" films such as Ant-Man and Inside Out where Hollywood studios earn 25% of the box office revenue, Chinese distributors "buy-out" the rights for a flat-fee and don't have to share the profits. These films are subject to an annual quota outside of the 34 revenue-sharing films allowed into the country by SARFT - around 30 per year.

The Little Prince was shown in both English and Mandarin dubbed versions and naturally, audiences flocked to the Mandarin one. In a smart move, distributor Fundamental Films utilized high-profile celebrity voice talents Huang Bo (Lost in Thailand) and teen idol Jackson Yi to attract family audiences. In contrast, Inside Out's dubbed version was voiced by a cast of virtually unknown Chinese performers which could be one reason the pic failed to hit with Mainland audiences. 

In fourth and fifth places, National Holiday favorites Lost in Hong Kong (港囧) and Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (九层妖塔) continued their steep descents. Hong Kong earned $2.0 million from ~25K screenings and will finish its run as the fourth highest grossing film of all-time in China with $253 million. Chronicles grossed $1.25 million this weekend from ~17K showtimes. The FX driven action/adventure film has grossed $106.1 million and is easily director Lu Chuan's (City of Life and Death) most successful commercial venture to date.

The rest of this week's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Goodbye Mr. Loser' Stuns; 'Inside Out' Disappoints on October 12, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Goodbye Mr. Loser (夏洛特烦恼) was the big winner at the Chinese box office this truncated weekend grossing $39.4 million from ~135,000 showtimes. Businesses and schools were in session nationwide on Saturday, making up a workday after last week's National Day Holiday. The comedy from Beijing theater troupe Kaixin Mahua has earned an outstanding $142.6 million after 12 days of release. Even more astonishing, Mr. Loser jumped 30% from last weekend thanks to incredible word of mouth that has spread like wildfire through social networking apps like WeChat.

Falling a steep 81% after the holiday, Lost in Hong Kong (港囧) managed $8.2 million this weekend from ~75,000 screenings. The sequel to director Xu Zheng's breakout hit Lost in Thailand has grossed $246.1 million through 17 days and will likely finish as the fourth highest grossing film of all-time in China behind Transformers 4 ($312.8M), Furious 7 ($383.6M), and Monster Hunt ($385.4M). Hong Kong's relatively week legs can be attributed to overall poorer word of mouth than the original. However, the "Lost in..." brand name and Xu Zheng have both established themselves as dependable properties and the franchise is sure to continue.

Also dropping off significantly after a strong holiday outing, Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (九层妖塔) plummeted 79% to take in $7.2 million. The FX-driven action/adventure film passed the $100 million mark after 12 days of release which bodes well for the three remaining installments in the Ghostly Tribe series.

Debuting in fourth place, Pixar's Inside Out performed below already modest expectations, earning $4.1 million for a 6-day $12.4 million total. The film is tracking 38% behind Monsters University's 6-day start from two years ago and given the market expansion since then, especially in animation, Disney/Pixar must rethink its strategy to succeed in China.

Rounding out the top five, crime thriller Saving Mr. Wu (解救吾先生) held well with $3.8 million. The well-reviewed genre pic has grossed $26.9 million in 12 days of release.

The rest of this weekend's top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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