• Box Office

China Box Office April 2, 2023

Titanic will be re-released in China for its 25th anniversary in an enhanced 3D format on April 3 in time for the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday two days later.

Director James Cameron addressed Chinese fans remotely at an advanced screening in Beijing, telling them that they were seeing the film “the way it was meant to be seen…When we made Titanic, we made it for the big screen.”

China has been a major market for the film – it grossed $44 million with its original release in 1998 at a time when the market was relatively small, and $145 million more for the 3D release in 2012, for a total of $189 million.

Two more Hollywood films have been passed by Chinese censors for release – Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid and Universal’s Fast X. No release dates have been announced yet but it is likely they will be day and date following the pattern of other releases this year.

Fast X opens internationally on May 17, with North America following on May 19. Mermaid begins its international run on May 24, two days before its domestic release. The Fast films are very popular in China, grossing over a billion dollars in the territory.

The Venice Film Festival will bestow its Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Chinese actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai this year. Festival Director Alberto Barbera made the announcement by saying, “He is a charismatic performer in the course of an exceptional transnational career which has evolved paralleling the expansion of global film circulation.” The other recipient will be Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani.

Meanwhile, the slasher film Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey has been quietly pulled from Hong Kong and Macau cinemas this week after it was due for release in 30 cinemas.

The official explanation is “technical reasons” but speculation is rife that political pressure was applied from China because comparisons were drawn between the children’s character and Chinese premier Xi Jin Ping, with Pooh becoming a symbol of resistance against the Communist Party.

Here are the top ten films for the weekend of March 31 – April 2, 2023.

Suzume (Suzume no Tojimari), the 2022 Japanese animated fantasy film, is a huge hit in China and remains on top of the list, grossing $82.27 million in ten days with a weekend take of $22.58 million. The story is about a young girl who helps a mysterious man avert disasters all over Japan. The film is written and directed by Makoto Shinkai and will be released in North America on April 14.

The new release, Hachiko, comes in at No. 2. The Chinese drama is a family story about a faithful rescue dog who waits for its owner for ten years. It stars Joan Chen and is directed by Ang Xu. The film grossed $9.01 million in three days.

The comedy Post Truth fell to No. 3 and has earned $87.36 million in 24 days, with $6.51 million over the weekend. In the film, a former thug, now a cemetery salesman, tries to clear the name of a woman he doesn’t know after ugly internet rumors follow her death. It is directed by Da Peng and stars Dong Chengpeng and Li Xueqin.

Paramount’s action-comedy Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves debuts at No. 4 with $5.14 million grossed over the three-day weekend, a disappointing opening. The movie stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez and is directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. It opened day and date in China.

The new Chinese romantic comedy, Nobody But You, was released on Saturday and ended the weekend at No. 5 with a gross of $3.78 million. Directed by Chen Chen and starring Yang Shuo and Li Mengmeng, the film is about two people hurt by love who come together at the right time in the right place.

Another new film, the sci-fi comedy Journey to the West, which is part of a franchise, was also released on Saturday and came in at No. 6 with $2.20 million grossed over two days, edging out To Be Continued on Sunday by a fraction, thus ending higher on the list.

To Be Continued, a Chinese comedy thriller that was in previews last week, ended the weekend at No 7. It has earned $4.10 million, including previews. The film is about a blogger on a horror movie set and stars Fan Chengcheng and Jiang Long. It is directed by Ma Kai.

The animated Boonie Bears: Guardian Code continues its strong run at No. 8 with $220.84 million over 71 days. The film has received distribution in multiple international territories, though not in the US as yet. It is the ninth film in the Boonie Bears franchise and the sixth highest-grossing this year.

Manifesto, a biopic about Chen Wangdou who translated the Communist Manifesto into Chinese and influenced the political path of China, came in at No. 9 with $4.06 million over ten days. It stars Liu Ye as Chen and is directed by Yong Hou.

Rounding out the top ten is Sony’s 65, the sci-fi action thriller with Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt. The story is about a spaceship that crashes on the earth 65 million years ago. It took in $0.61 million in its three-day run.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has already fallen out of the top 20; M3GAN comes in at No. 16 and A Man Called Otto is at No. 19.