• Box Office

China Box Office April 9, 2023

Deadline is reporting that the US House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party met with Hollywood executives last week to express their concerns about the studios’ business practices with China.

Among the topics raised was the way movies were edited, and sometimes self-edited, to appease Chinese censors in order to get distribution in the territory, indirectly allowing China to control the content that is made for the worldwide market.

Disney CEO Robert Iger had a private meeting with the delegation in Los Angeles before the group met with other studio executives. A source told Deadline regarding Chinese requests for changes that “they admitted it was a value judgment and they don’t always get it right.”

Also discussed was the concern that Disney had previously worked with authorities in Xinjiang, the province holding the Uighur Muslims captive in internment camps when Mulan was filmed there. Iger “talked of how measures have been put in place to make sure such a situation doesn’t happen again,” according to Deadline.

Disney has said they make their changes as “narrow” as possible and will not make them if they “impact the storytelling,” assuring the politicians that the content would then not be distributed in China.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which opened on Wednesday, April 5, made less than $12 million in five days of release and ended the weekend at No. 3 on the charts. Comparing that box office performance to the No. 1 movie, Ride On, which opened on Friday and made the same amount in three days, seems evidence of the trend away from Hollywood movies.

Nevertheless, the animated movie from Universal/Illumination has grossed more in China in five days so far than other recent flops like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, M3GAN and Shazam: Fury of the Gods did in their entire runs. (Mario Bros. had the biggest worldwide opening ever for an animated title with $377.5 million, according to Deadline.)

Titanic’s re-release for its 25th anniversary in enhanced 3D format landed the film at No. 7 on the charts with $5.36 million. The James Cameron movie is an enduring and beloved film in the Chinese market. It has already earned $189 million in previous releases. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which opened last weekend, fell to No. 9 with less than $10 million in ten days.

Here are the top ten films for the weekend of April 7-9, 2023.

The action drama/comedy, Ride On, stars Jackie Chan as a washed-up stuntman whose beloved stunt horse may be auctioned off to cover his debts. Then a fight with his debtors goes viral and he has a chance to salvage his career and reconcile with his estranged daughter. The film, written and directed by Larry Yang, grossed $11.87 million in three days.

Hachiko, the Chinese drama, comes in at No. 2 on Sunday, edging out Super Mario and Suzume, though the latter film did better on Friday and Saturday. The film 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 $27.72 million in ten days, with a weekend take of $7.85 million.

As mentioned above, The Super Mario Bros. Movie ends Sunday at No. 3 with $11.76 million over five days. Based on the Nintendo video game, it is directed by Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic and Pierre Leduc, and the ensemble voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black and Seth Rogen.

Suzume (Suzume no Tojimari), the 2022 Japanese animated fantasy film, comes in at No. 4, grossing $104.89 million in 17 days with a weekend take of $8.12 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 release in North America on April 14.

The comedy Post Truth fell to No. 5 and has earned $96.03 million in 31 days, with $2.8 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.

The sci-fi comedy Journey to the West, which is part of a mythological franchise, is No. 6 with $6.23 million grossed over nine days.

The re-release of Titanic is No. 7 with $5.36 million grossed over nine days since its release on April 3.

At No. 8 is the Japanese animated film Meitante Konan: Bekâ Sutorîto no bôrei, grossing $5.22 million in six days.

Paramount’s action-comedy Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves fell to No. 9 with a total gross of $9.64 million over ten days. 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 on the previous weekend.

Manifesto, a biopic about Chen Wangdou who translated the Communist Manifesto into Chinese and influenced the political path of China, rounds out the top ten with $5.78 million over 17 days. It stars Liu Ye as Chen and is directed by Yong Hou.