By EntGroup Consulting, Phil Contrino and Jonathan Papish
Kingsman: The Secret Service has emerged as the strongest newcomer entering the Chinese market this week. The action flick should have no problem fending off four other homegrown films that will also open.
According to EntGroup's EFMT Marketing Index, Kingsman leads all new releases in three categories: awareness, intent to purchase and word of mouth. Star power will help Kingsman succeed in the Middle Kingdom: Colin Firth just did a publicity tour to promote the film. The Academy-Award winning actor is popular in China because Pride and Prejudice actually has quite the following there. Expectations are high for Kingsman, and it should have no problem topping recent hits such as Men In Black 3 ($80 million) and Night at the Museum 3 ($51.6 million). Kingsman currently boasts a $295.6 million global, which means China should help it get to $400 million.
Lost and Love, the current #1 film in China, should hold up well against a weak crop of Chinese titles. The Seventh Lie, Rookie, Ten Thousand Years Later and Bright Wedding all enter the market with mediocre buzz. Ten Thousand Years Later, a sci-fi disaster flick, is already being picked on for special effects that are inferior to most modern video games. Bright Wedding could do well with female moviegoers who won't be interested in Kingsman, but that film is also being criticized for having poor production values. The Seventh Lie is an arthouse-friendly effort that already opened in Hong Kong in 2014. As for Rookie, its cast consists of popular actors and actresses from Taiwan and South Korea, and that could end up turning it into a modest draw.
Sources report that Lost and Love, a homegrown title about a lost child, is currently #1 in China. The drama is up to $13.1 million after finishing in first place on Saturday with just shy of $7 million. Taken 3 is off to a solid start after opening earlier in the week: Liam Neeson's latest took in $6.8 million on Saturday boosting its total to $12 million. Cinderella is up to $49.2 million in China, which means it has surpassed the $48 million haul of Maleficent will plenty of time left in theaters.
Sunday Update: Disney reports that Cinderella opened to $25 million, which marks the strongest March opening of all time in the market.
Saturday Update: Sources report that Cinderella earned $10 million in China on Saturday. This is an early sign that Disney's latest should have no problem surpassing Frozen and Maleficent in the Middle Kingdom--both films earned close to $50 million. Check back tomorrow for updated numbers from Disney.
Sunday, 3/9/15 Update: WB now reports that Jupiter Ascending is up to $20.3 million since opening on March 5.
Sunday, 3/8/15 Update: Jupiter Ascending is finding its footing in China on the heels of a North American run that has been filled with snarky reactions from critics and paying movigoers alike as well as underwhelming box office returns. Sources report that Jupiter Ascending has raked in $16.2 million since opening on March 5. It's very possible that Jupiter's Chinese haul could pass North America's, which is currently at around $45 million and winding down quickly.
Other updated cumes from China: Big Hero 6 $36.8 million, The Man from Macau 2 $138.4 million, Paddington--which also opened on March 5--$5.17 million.
Big Hero 6 enjoyed a big opening weekend in China. The film's $14.8 million haul accounts for the biggest opening weekend of all time for a Disney Animation release in the market. The Chinese debut also helped the film cross the $350 million mark overseas. Big Hero 6 has now grossed $351.3 million outside of North America and $572.1 million worldwide.