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China Box Office Weekend Actuals: Records Fall as China's Box Office Soars on July 20, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

After an uncharacteristically slow start to the summer season, China's booming box office soared to new heights this weekend earning a record ¥1.13 billion in Friday-Sunday ticket sales ($182 million), and creaming the previous weekly (Mon-Sun) box office record set over this year's Chinese New Year period by grossing ¥1.76 billion ($283 million). In a rare occurrence, Chinese moviegoers were treated to three well-reviewed and highly-praised domestic films, all of which smashed records. 

Monster Hunt (捉妖记), China's first homegrown live-action/CGI hybrid, took first place at both the Chinese box office and the international box office this weekend with $79.7 million from ~168,000 showtimes and has grossed $107.4 million since opening on Thursday. That's the highest 3-day and 4-day opening ever for a local film. In addition, Monster Hunt's opening Thursday total of $27.7 million became the highest opening day gross for a Chinese language film in history, surpassing The Monkey King's $20.75 million from 1/31/14. The family friendly action/adventure film helmed by Shrek's animation supervisor Raman Hui also became the first domestic film ever to gross more than ¥100 million ($16.1 million) on four consecutive days. 

In a close second at both the overseas and Chinese box office, superhero spoof Jianbing Man (煎饼侠) directed by online personality Da Peng (大鹏) grossed $68.7 million including midnight and preview screenings from ~179,000 showtimes. The comedy also snatched the record for the highest-grossing opening day for a 2D film from last week's Tiny Times 4.0 by scoring $22.4 million on Friday. Jianbing Man opens in select US cities this Friday through Magnum Films.

Homegrown 3D animation Monkey King: Hero Is Back (西游记之大圣归来) had an incredible second weekend, jumping 84% behind amazing word of mouth to $25.5 million from just ~75,000 showtimes and a 10-day total of $75 million. Monkey already became the Mainland's highest-grossing local animation on Thursday, surpassing this year's Bonnie Bears 2 ($47 million), and will pass Kung Fu Panda 2 ($99.3 million) sometime next weekend to become #1 on the all-time animation list. The success of both Monster Hunt and Monkey King: Hero Is Back is an encouraging sign for China's local animation industry which has always lagged behind Hollywood's engaging plotlines and technically superior computer animation.

Britain's stop action animated feature from Aardman Animations Shaun The Sheep held its own in the face of stiff family-friendly competition, earning a strong $4.2 million from ~27,000 screenings.

In fifth and sixth place, last weekend's box office leaders and universally panned youth romance pics Tiny Times 4.0 and Forever Young both plummeted 95% to gross $2.4 million and $2.0 million respectively. Historically, these types of movies have had no staying power since diehard fans show up in huge numbers on opening weekend, but casual filmgoers avoid them at all costs. Therefore, Tiny Times 4.0 is trying to woo back fans for a second viewing this week with a 36 minute behind-the-scenes documentary tacked on to the end of the [2 hour] film.

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 Actuals: Youth-Oriented Pics Dominate While Local Animation Surprises as China's Summer Box Office Finally Takes Off on July 15, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Three long weeks into SARFT's (State Administration of Radio, TV, and Film) summer protection period without a major local blockbuster, the Chinese box office finally exploded this weekend with young moviegoers turning out in huge numbers for both Forever Young (栀子花开) and Tiny Times 4.0 (小时代4:灵魂尽头). Pre-sales were huge for both youth-oriented films as heavily subsidized discounted tickets from Gewara and Taobao saturated the market and drove hordes of diehard fans to cinemas on what is always a very front-loaded opening weekend for these types of movies; individual installments in the Tiny Times series have earned an average of 58% of their final grosses from opening weekend. In fact, both Forever Young and Tiny Times 4.0 saw daily double-digit percentage decreases in their grosses from Friday to Sunday and will continue to drop fast through this week behind incredibly poor word of mouth and dwindling fan turnout. 

Forever Young took the weekend title with $41.4M from ~157,000 showtimes on its opening weekend while Tiny Times 4.0 took a close second with $40.25M from ~178,000 showtimes and is up to $58.4M since premiering on Thursday. Both films had a very low average price of ¥30 ($4.83) thanks to those online promotions.

In third place and following a very different trajectory than Forever and Tiny was Monkey King: Hero is Back (西游记之大圣归来) which grossed $13.9M from just ~50,000 showtimes. After impressive previews last weekend, the animated film has grossed $15.5 million. Very strong word of mouth praising the film's technical prowess and universally-accessible story gave Monkey a 222% increase from Friday to Sunday and it now looks to be on track to become the highest-grossing locally animated movie passing Bonnie Bears 2 ($47M).

Last weekend's champion Monk Comes Down The Mountain (道士下山) dropped a steep 78% to take fourth with $6.7M from ~32,000 showtimes. Chen Kaige's martial arts epic has grossed a decent $60.7M in 11 days, but is fading fast.

Rounding out the top five was another animated newcomer, GG Bond Movie: Ultimate Battle (猪猪侠之终极决战) which earned $4.8M from ~28,000 showtimes. 

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 Actuals: 'Monk' Leads the Way While 'Jurassic World' Holds Strong in Final Weekend on July 06, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Lacking the local blockbuster that had been predicted to bring out moviegoers during the protection period, China's summer box office failed to erupt yet again this weekend. Weekly (June 29-July 5) box office receipts totaled just ¥674 million ($108.5 million), down 10% from the corresponding frame last summer, and marks the second consecutive weekly drop.

Leading the weekend, director Chen Kaige's 3D IMAX martial arts epic Monk Comes Down the Mountain (道士下山) took in a solid $37.26 million from ~150,000 screenings including Thursday evening previews. Reviews for the action/adventure flick were mixed on social media platforms (6.2 on Mtime, 5.6 on Douban, and 6.8 on Weibo) and its Saturday gross had a minimal bump (+39%) indicating Monk is skewing older and away from family audiences. Monk is already Chen's most successful work to date surpassing Sacrifice ($29.9 million) in just 3 days.

Jurassic World is winding down its China run, but held strong with $9.41 million (-40%) from ~47,000 screenings on its fourth and final weekend. That brings the total for Universal's global blockbuster to $221.7 million and places Jurassic as the fourth highest grossing film of all-time in China behind Avengers: Age of Ultron ($235M), Transformers 4 ($319M), and Furious 7 ($390M). Despite the great hold, Jurassic's 30-day imported film license will expire on Thursday, preventing it from passing Ultron. Universal must be disappointed that the run will be cut short with gas still left in the tank and one can only imagine how much longer Hollywood studios will put up with this treatment. 

In third place, underperforming Hollywood Adventures (横冲直撞好莱坞) grossed just $6.4 million, down 74% in its second weekend, from ~56,000 screenings. The Justin Lin produced action/adventure film has earned $46.65 million in 10 days of release. 

Newcomer I Am Somebody (我是路人甲) posted a decent $6.5 million from ~45,000 showtimes including Thursday night previews to take the fourth spot. Director Derek Yee's romantic comedy is set amid the backdrop of China's largest film studio and features an unknown cast which probably caused walkup moviegoers to choose other fare in celebrity obsessed China. However, Somebody will look to hold well throughout the month of July behind very strong word of mouth and celebrity endorsements.  

Rounding out the top 5 this weekend was holdover SPLII (杀破狼2) with $4.4 million (-61%) from ~35,000 screenings. The HK/China coproduced action film has grossed $86 million after 18 days of release and passed April's Wolf Warriors (战狼) to cement Mainland actor Jacky Wu as a bankable male action star. 

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 Actuals: Disappointing 'Hollywood Adventures' Leads Sluggish Weekend; 'Jurassic World' Crosses $200 Million on June 29, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Producer Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 3-6) and three of China's biggest movie stars couldn't save a tepid domestic box office as Hollywood Adventures (横冲直撞好莱坞) opened to an underwhelming $27 million this weekend from ~150,000 screenings. Co-financed by Lin's Perfect Storm Entertainment, Bruno Wu's Seven Stars Media Group, and Beijing Enlight Pictures, Hollywood Adventures had been predicted to easily make back its estimated budget of $30 million, but very poor word of mouth slowed the film down right out of the gate. Users from China's top three film rating aggregators, Mtime, Weibo, and Douban, gave Hollywood scores of 5.5, 6.8, and 4.9 respectively with many complaining about the film's clichéd plot and awkward humor. 

The disappointing opening led an overall sluggish week at China's box office with Monday-Sunday receipts totaling just ¥750 million ($121 million), a 16% slide from the corresponding frame last year. SARFT (The State Administration of Radio, Film and TV) had hoped to start off its domestic protection month with a bang, but it will have to wait and see if next week's crop of local fare can kickstart the engine.

In second place this weekend, Universal's Jurassic World fell 60% from last weekend, earning $15.7 million from ~75,000 screenings. The global blockbuster has earned $202.3 million from China and became the third Hollywood movie in three months to top $200 million after Furious 7 in April and Avengers: Age of Ultron in May.

SPLII (杀破狼2) continued its strong run this weekend with $11.2 million from ~75,000 screenings, giving the HK/China coproduction an 11-day total of $73.9 million. Chinese media outlets have started calling the action flick this season's "dark horse" (黑马), a moniker last given to Wolf Warriors which also starred action star Jacky Wu and grossed $84 million.

Two Hollywood holdovers round out the top 5 this weekend with San Andreas jumping up a spot from last weekend to grab $2.8 million from ~14,000 screenings. The disaster film dropped just 29% and will cross the century mark on Monday or Tuesday, a milestone that seemed out of reach a few weeks ago. Conversely, The Divergent Series: Insurgent tumbled 80%, grossing $1.8 million from ~16,000 showtimes. However, its $15.8 million 10-day total has surpassed the first installment and indicates a growing audience for American YA films 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 Actuals: 'Jurassic World' Rules Dragon Boat Holiday; 'SPLII' Strong in Second on June 23, 2015

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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

In China, as in other parts of the world, Jurassic World is proving itself to be the perfect weekend movie. Over the 4-day Dragon Boat Festival, the dinosaurs of Universal's blockbuster sequel roared to $49.1 million and a 13-day total of $175.4 million. Its 3-day weekend percentage drop was just 42% compared to opening weekend, while the film lost almost half of its screenings. Per screening attendance jumped from 51 to 61 this weekend making up the difference -- pretty impressive and indicating great word of mouth. Jurassic's nationwide average ticket price remained steady at an expensive $6.12 meaning moviegoers are favoring premium formats. 

Jurassic also passed ¥1 billion in local currency this weekend, becoming the tenth movie ever to reach that milestone and also the third in 3 months (Furious 7 in April and Avengers: Age of Ultron in May). This is the first year that three imported films have grossed more than ¥1 billion (2014 saw Transformers: Age Of Extinction and domestic hits Breakup Buddies and The Monkey King); China's SARFT (State Administration of Radio Television and Film) must be very anxious for the protection period to kick in.

Speaking of successful local pics, HK/China coproduction SPLII (杀破狼2) had a strong second place finish with $39.6 million. The action film starring Thailand's Tony Jaa and Jacky Wu has grossed $50.6 million since opening on Thursday and is actually outpacing Jurassic on weekdays since the latter's audience is predominantly composed of families and younger moviegoers. SPLII looks poised to top Wolf Warriors' $87 million as this year's highest grossing local action film and signals the emergence of Jacky Wu as the Mainland's premiere action star. 

In third place, The Divergent Series: Insurgent opened to an even $11.0 million. Although young adult franchises like Maze Runner and Hunger Games aren't hitting with Chinese moviegoers the same way they do with domestic ones, Insurgent's four day total nearly equals Divergent's entire run of $12.4 million last year indicating its fan base is growing.

Rounding out the top five was newcomer The Ark of Mr. Chow (少年班) performing under expectations with $5.5 million, and Hollywood holdover San Andreas, holding well on just 3% of China's screens with $5.3 million for a 20-day total of $94.1 million. 

Stand By Me Doraemon ($84.9 million) passed Big Hero 6 ($84.6 million) this weekend to become the #2 highest grossing animated film in China's history. Kung Fu Panda 2 ($94.75 million) will keep its crown for the time being. 

The rest of the 4-day holiday weekend top ten can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.

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