‘Across the Furious Sea’ Wins Weekend

‘Across the Furious Sea’ Wins Weekend

China’s nationwide annual box office passed the symbolic $7 billion and RMB 50 billion marks in recent days, confirming a decent, but still incomplete recovery of the theatrical cinema industry.

According to consultancy Artisan Gateway, the running box office total to Nov. 26 was $7.15 billion. That is a 79% rebound compared with 2022, when much of the year was wiped out by strict anti-COVID restrictions. But it is 15% below pre-COVID performance in 2019.

The weak economy may be having an impact, but the inconsistent supply of audience-friendly films is also likely a factor. Clustering around peak holiday periods continues to be the prevailing pattern and distributors have recently postponed the release of at least one major title until February’s 2024 Chinese New Year season.

Revenues over the latest weekend were $52.3 million, powered by an all-new top five and a good opening from “Across the Furious Sea,” a crime thriller starring Huang Bo and Zhou Xun. The film is directed by Cao Baoping, who also adapted it from his own novel. It was given a Saturday release, meaning that its weekend performance comes from only two days of business.

“Beyond the Clouds,” which opened officially on Friday, having enjoyed successful previews a week earlier, debuted in second place. It earned $5.4 million, giving a cumulative including previews of $7.6 million. Bona Media’s “Seven Killings” opened in third place with $5.1 million.

Japanese animation, “New Dimension! Crayon Shinchan The Movie: Battle of Supernatural Powers – Flying Sushi” opened on Saturday and earned $4.7 million over two days. That was enough for fourth place over the Friday-Sunday period ahead of Disney animation “The Wish” which earned $3.5 million over three days, for fifth place.

That is in keeping with Hollywood films’ struggles this year in China. Market share for Chinese films was 84% in the 10 months to end of October, according to Artisan Gateway, meaning that imports of all stripes – mostly Japanese and U.S. this year – have shared just 16% of that $7 billion total of $1.12 billion.

Last week’s Hollywood opener, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” quickly fell out of the top five and, local data providers suggest that it ranked around ninth over the weekend, with a 10-day cumulative of close to $8 million.

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