China Box Office Report: 'Monster Hunt' Becomes #1 Film Of All Time on September 12, 2015


UPDATED: China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television reports that Monster Hunt has now passed Furious 7 to become the highest-grossing film of all time in China. The animation/live-action hybrid is now up to $380.9 million in China, just edging the $380.6 million tally of Furious 7.

By Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

After a record breaking summer, China's booming box office reached ¥29.75 billion ($4.67B) on Tuesday and surpassed 2014's annual total in just 246 days; it took over a month longer for last year's box office to surpass the 2013 total. At this point, China's film industry is on track for a 40% increase over last year and a total of ¥45 billion ($7.07B).

This was a truncated weekend in China as the 3-day Victory Day Holiday during the week meant Chinese citizens had to go back to school and work on Sunday. Accordingly, Sunday's box office total was just $6.7M, 50% below Saturday and the lowest daily total in months. The market should rebound this upcoming week with the release of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Minions

Meanwhile, Terminator: Genisys took home its third straight weekend crown with $11 million from ~109K showtimes and has a 15-day total of $109 million. China overtook the US total of $89.6 million on Wednesday. Genisys will lose most of its screen percentage to Mission: Impossible and has perhaps $10-15 million left in its tank. 

In second place, holdover The Dead End (烈日灼心) dropped just 40% in its second frame and earned $9.25 million from ~92K showtimes. The crime drama has grossed $41.8 million in 11 days of release. The Dead End is finding a sizable female demographic attracted by the 3 lead males who won a joint Best Actor award at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival.

Newcomer Office (华丽上班族) from Hong Kong master Johnnie To opened earlier in the week to take advantage of the holiday and has grossed $6.75 million through Sunday.

In fourth place, Monster Hunt (捉妖记) continues its quest to become the highest-grossing film of all-time in China, edging closer to Furious 7 with $2.16 million this weekend from just ~15,000 screenings. At today's conversion rate, Monster Hunt's total is $379 million to Furious 7's $381 million, but adjusting for the recent currency devaluation which happened more than a month into its run, Monster Hunt has earned about $385 million to Furious 7's $391 million. In local currency, however, Monster Hunt is just ¥8.7 million short of Furious 7 and will become the #1 movie of all-time in China sometime this week.

Rounding out the top five, a French/Brazilian co-produced family film set in the Amazon, Amazonia grossed $1.7 million from ~21.5K screenings. 

Also worth mentioning, last weekend's surprise second place film The Hundred Regiments Offensive (百团大战) plummeted 92% after a government directive ordering theater chains to fulfill certain box office quotas expired on Wednesday. It will end its run around $60 million, almost all of which was earned through market manipulation.

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


China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Terminator: Genisys' Holds Top Spot in Face of Rampant Market Manipulation on August 31, 2015


Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

Terminator: Genisys was able retain the weekend box office crowd despite a heavy challenge from newcomer The Hundred Regiments Offensive (百团大战) which appears to have benefited from market manipulation.

Terminator: Genisys earned $23.5 million in its first full weekend of release bringing the 8-day total to $82.5 million. Genisys held onto ~140,000 showtimes occupying ~29% of China's screens. "Golden time" screenings -- those between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm -- jumped throughout the week indicating the film's audience is skewing towards a working-aged demographic. Data from China's EntGroup also show audiences in third and fourth tier cities -- those with less-refined moviegoing habits and tastes -- accounting for a larger portion of Genisys' demographic than white-collar workers in the international cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. Nonetheless, the sci-fi film has found a sizable audience in the Middle Kingdom and will surpass North America's $89 million total either Tuesday or Wednesday, one of only a handful of films to earn more in China than Stateside and arguably the most high-profile.

In second place, The Hundred Regiments Offensive earned an impressive $21.8 million this weekend including three days of preview screenings. In addition, the film made 30% of the total weekend box office on just 10% of China's screens. However, there's more to that number than meets the eye. To commemorate China's 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Japan in World War II, the government is throwing a huge military parade in Beijing and giving its citizens a 3-day Victory Day Holiday next week. The release of Hundred Regiments, a state-sponsored war epic that retells a key battle between CCP and Japanese forces, is intended to coincide with the celebrations.

On Monday, netizens leaked a SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film, and TV) directive ordering movie theater chains to use "any means necessary" to bring in a fixed amount of box office revenue for Hundred Regiments in order to "extend societal influence" and build "feelings of patriotism and national sentiment." To motivate them to complete their "mission", theater chains can keep 100% of the box office revenue instead of giving the usual 43% to the distribution company. The directive runs through September 4 when normal revenue sharing will return.

Newcomer The Dead End (烈日灼心) came in third with $15.2 million and has earned $19.8 million since opening on Thursday. The award-winning crime drama from Cao Baoping is riding high ratings from social media platforms and strong word of mouth, and will look to hold well this week. 

Monster Hunt (捉妖记), the highest-grossing Chinese film of all-time ($373.4M) and second highest-grossing film of all-time to Furious 7 ($390M), fell just 25% grossing $5.0 million from only ~20,000 showings. However, upon closer inspection those numbers don't add up either. Images began to circulate on social media late Saturday night showing Broadway Cinema, the theater circuit owned by Monster Hunt's distribution company Edko, selling out multiple late-night Monster Hunt screenings. Even stranger, screenings were scheduled just 15 minutes apart in the same exact movie hall. Edko issued a statement later in the weekend claiming the sold-out shows were legitimate and just part of a public charity screening drive, but that it had failed to supervise the handling of the activity. If Monster Hunt ends up #1 in the box office record books, it might need an asterisk.

Rounding out the top five was Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin (刺客聂隐娘) which won the Best Director Award at this year's Cannes. The arthouse film took in $6.1 million from ~52,000 showings, mostly from first-tier cities. 

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


China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Terminator: Genisys' Shines as Hollywood's Blackout Period is Lifted on August 24, 2015


Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television's (SARFT) nearly two month-long unofficial moratorium on Hollywood releases came to an end midnight Sunday with the opening of Terminator: Genisys (终结者:创世纪). Mainland audiences were clearly clamoring for something new as this summer has been dominated by blockbusters Monster Hunt (捉妖记), Monkey King: Hero is Back (西游记之大圣归来), and Jianbing Man (煎饼侠) leading the market for nearly 40 days. Sure enough, the combination of fan favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger and his last-minute publicity tour and the dearth of big-budget Hollywood fare brought Chinese fans out in droves on Sunday with Genisys earning $26.0 million on opening day including $2.0 million from midnight screenings. That's the 4th largest opening day gross ever in China behind Transformers 4 ($30M), Avengers 2 ($33M), and Furious 7 ($63M).

Genisys bowed with nearly 49,000 showtimes with a higher-than-average ticket price of ¥36 ($5.62) due to premium priced IMAX and 3D tickets. Average attendance was an impressive 65 people per screening. 

Early estimates are in for Monday's box office with Genisys falling 60% with $10.5 million. In comparison, Furious 7 which also opened on a Sunday dropped 54% on its first Monday. Genisys looks to be significantly more front loaded than Furious and less of an "event movie", and with average word of mouth kicking in, the film looks on track to gross between $100M-$125M. This upcoming weekend will tell us more.

In second place, last weekend's champ Go Away, Mr. Tumor (滚蛋吧!肿瘤君) held well with $12.9 million (-43%) for an 11-day total of $65.7 million. The inspirational comedy's strong second weekend performance is most likely due to last weekend's Tianjin explosion which depressed the overall market. Mr. Tumor's marketing campaign came to a halt and Chinese moviegoers avoided entertainment activities across the country. 

In third place, Bride Wars (新娘大作战), a remake of 20th Century Fox's romantic comedy, snapped up $9 million. The film starring Angelababy and Ni Ni took advantage of China's Valentine's Day 七夕节 and opened in the top spot on Thursday with $14.4 million. However, it dropped significantly over the weekend and will fade very quickly.

Summer blockbusters Monster Hunt and Monkey King took the fourth and fifth position respectively this frame. Monster Hunt prowled to $7 million (-44%) and has grossed $363.2 million in 39 days. With twenty more days in theaters thanks to a release extension, it is looking more and more likely the domestic family film will surpass Furious 7's $391 million to become the highest-grossing film of all-time in China. 

Monkey King fell just 32% from last weekend for $2.4 million and a 45-day total of $146 million. It is the highest-grossing animated film of all-time in China. 

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


China Box Office Weekend Report: 'Monster Hunt' Slays Competition for 4th Straight Weekend as Summer Box Office Cools Off on August 10, 2015


Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

China's summer box office is ready for another "monster" hit. Although performing in line with expectations, thirteen new releases this weekend failed to break out causing box office receipts to hit a two-month low ($61 million) behind waning summer blockbusters Monster Hunt (捉妖记), Monkey King: Hero Is Back (西游记之大圣归来), and Jianbing Man (煎饼侠).

Monster Hunt continued to slay the competition, sitting atop the box office for a 4th consecutive weekend with $18.8 million (-40%) from ~95,000 showtimes. The live-action/3D animated hybrid family film has grossed $330 million in 25 days of release and surpassed Transformers: Age of Extinction ($319 million) on Saturday to become the 2nd highest-grossing film of all-time in China. Monster Hunt was also granted a release extension and will remain in theaters until September 16 to challenge Furious 7's $391 million record from April, but next weekend's heavyweight Go Away, Mr. Tumor! (滚蛋吧!肿瘤君) -- which grossed $2 million on Saturday previews to place #9 for the weekend -- will steal away a large percentage of its showtimes.

In second place, newcomer To The Fore (破风) sped to $11.6 million from ~128,000 showtimes including Thursday evening previews. The cycling drama helmed by Hong Kong director Dante Lam is riding strong word of mouth on Chinese social media platforms (Mtime - 7.2, Douban - 7.5, Gewara - 8.9), but its niche subject matter failed to attract a mainstream audience.

It was a close race for 3rd-5th place this weekend as Monkey King: Hero Is Back, Jianbing Man, and new animation Mr. Black: Green Star (黑猫警长之翡翠之星) were separated by just $400K. Monkey King leapfrogged back into the 3rd spot with $5.5 million (-32%) from ~33,000 screenings for a 31-day total of $137 million. The highest-grossing animated film in China's history also received a release extension until September 9.

Jianbing Man also held well, dropping just 41% for $5.2 million from ~36,000 showtimes. The superhero spoof is the 5th highest-grossing domestic film of all-time with $177 million after its fourth weekend of release.

Rounding out the top five, Mr. Black: Green Star posted a solid $5.1 million from ~55,000 screenings and is up to $6.1 million including last weekend's previews. 

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


China Box Office Weekend Actuals: 'Monster Hunt' Prowls to 3rd Straight Weekend Victory; John Woo's 'The Crossing: Part 2' Crashes on Launch on August 03, 2015


Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

It's already been a monster run for the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all-time and this weekend saw another outstanding hold for Monster Hunt (捉妖记). The live-action/3D animated hybrid film continued to wow both paying moviegoers and box office pundits, dropping just 40% for $31.4 million from ~107,000 showtimes to lift its 18-day total to a staggering $290 million. Despite several high-profile releases, Monster Hunt was able to retain the #1 position and has held the top spot for its entire run and with not much in the way of stiff competition next weekend, the film will easily pass Transformers: Age of Extinction ($319 million) to become the 2nd highest-grossing film of all-time. It remains to be seen whether or not Monster Hunt can challenge Furious 7's $391 million record from April, but its run already proves that Chinese moviegoers will seek out high-quality domestic films in the same way they devour Hollywood blockbusters.

A pair of new releases usurped the second and third spots from Monster Hunt's fellow hits Jianbing Man (煎饼侠) and Monkey King: Hero Is Back (西游记之大圣归来) which fell to fourth and fifth respectively. In second place, Lady of The Dynasty (王朝的女人:王贵妃), a Tang Dynasty epic period drama starring Fan Bingbing, opened strong on Thursday but quickly faded throughout the weekend, earning a 4-day total of $14.8 million from ~95,000 showtimes. Following a similar trend, gritty Hong Kong action flick Wild City (谜城) took in a 4-day total of $14.1 million from ~78,000 showtimes. Both Lady and Wild City kicked off their runs with cheap subsidized tickets from third-party merchants -- their average tickets prices were more than $1 cheaper than the national average -- but neither could sustain momentum over the weekend due to poor word of mouth and lack of mainstream appeal.

In fourth, Jianbing Man grabbed $8.8 million (-68%) from ~47,000 screenings. The superhero spoof that lampoons Mainland celebrity culture has grossed $163.9 million in 17 days and is just the sixth domestic film ever to crack ¥1 billion ($161 million). Rounding out the top five, Monkey King: Hero Is Back grossed $8.1 million (-48%) and has earned $125.7 million in 24 days, setting a new record for the highest-grossing animated movie in China box office history.

And in a disappointing sixth place, John Woo's epic (and expensive) The Crossing: Part 2 (太平轮:彼岸) couldn't recover from the negativity that sank Part 1, grossing just $5 million in 4 days from ~51,000 showtimes.

The rest of this weekend's top 10 can be found below with data from China's EntGroup.


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