• Box Office

China Box Office February 26, 2023

Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania managed to stay No. 1 at the box office till Thursday – just about a week since its opening – with a disappointing gross of $32.21 million over 10 days. It ended the weekend in third place. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has barely earned even half that amount, finishing 12th yet again this weekend, with $15.56 million in 20 days.

The next Hollywood films up for release are Warner’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods (day and date) and M3GAN on March 17, and Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on March 31 (day and date). Their performance will be closely watched as indicators of whether the Chinese market has cooled on Hollywood blockbusters with the substandard showing of the Marvel films.

Back in December, China lifted the restrictions on some foreign video games that it had implemented over the last couple of years. Forty-four of them, including Nintendo’s Pokémon: Unite, Don’t Starve, Riot Games’ Valorant and several Korean games, are now approved, according to Reuters. “The number of licenses granted are fewer than in previous years. China approved 76 imported games in 2021 and 456 in 2017.”

According to CBR.com, a comic book-related website, “In years past, China has dramatically controlled video game use by its population. In August 2021, the country imposed a 3-hour cap per week for players under 18. Furthermore, children can only play on public holidays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.” These rules are to protect the mental and physical health of children. There is no information on how these restrictions are monitored.

CBR continues, “In March 2022, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced a ‘youth mode’ to limit Internet use and control the children’s amount of purchases and money spent on online purchases. Weeks later, Tencent Games shut down its network acceleration service to prevent gamers from playing foreign games. The service previously allowed players to access titles like Animal Crossing, Grand Theft Auto V and many more. Tencent’s mobile and desktop apps will now only feature domestic titles.”


Games that were allowed into China steered clear of taboo topics such as gambling, time travel, and gay themes. The Back to the Future games are banned for time travel reasons.

Unrelated to the government restrictions, Blizzard Entertainment, a California company, and their publishing partner NetEase, failed to reach an agreement to keep the company’s games online in China. So on January 23, games like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft III: Reforged, Overwatch 2, the StarCraft series, Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm went offline in the territory.

Here are the top ten films for the weekend of February 24-26, 2023.

The Hong Kong drama, A Guilty Conscience, which had opened in previews last weekend, ended this weekend in first place, though it ceded the top spot to The Wandering Earth 2 on Saturday. It has grossed $8.62 million so far, including on the preview week. Directed by Wai-Lun Ng, the film stars Chi-Wah Wong, Louise Wong, and Kai-Wa Ho and tells the story of a lawyer who works to free an innocent woman after his negligence landed her in jail.

The Wandering Earth 2, in second place by the weekend’s end, has grossed $581.07 million over 36 days with $7.53 million over the weekend. The sci-fi disaster film stars Andy Lau, Wu Jing and Li Xuejian, is directed by Frant Gwo, and is about Chinese heroes saving the earth from annihilation.

Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania ended in third place, as mentioned above. It was briefly No. 2 on Friday. The film’s weekend gross was $7.11 million, with a total of $32.21 million over 10 days.

Director Zhang Yimou’s Full River Red (Man Jiang Hong) came in at No. 4 with $662.48 million in 36 days, with $5.62 million grossed over the weekend. The film is a historical suspense starring Shen Teng and Jackson Yee that deals with treachery in the Southern Song dynasty.

At no. 5 is Boonie Bears: Guardian Code, the ninth animated sci-fi comedy in the franchise. It grossed $3.91 million over the weekend for a total of $211.89 million over 36 days. It is directed by Lin Yongchang and Shao Heqi.

The Deep Sea (Shenhai), another Chinese animated film, directed by Tian Xiaopeng, came in at No. 6 with a total of $128.32 million over its 36-day run. The film is an underwater fantasy story in 3D based on the POV of a young girl.

Director Cheng Er’s World War II espionage thriller, Hidden Blade, stayed at No. 7, grossing $135.49 million in 36 days. It stars Chinese superstar Tony Leung, Wang Yibo and Zhou Xun. The story is set during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and focuses on the intelligence agents who risked their lives to save the motherland.

Ping Pong; The Triumph took eighth place, grossing $13.42 million over ten days, including two weeks of previews. It is a sports film based on the true story of the comeback of the China men’s table tennis team at the 1995 World Table Tennis championships in Tianjin.

Avatar: The Way of Water is still on the top ten list, ending the weekend at No. 9 with $250.07 million over its extended run of 73 days.

Rounding out the top ten, Behind the Blue Eyes, a Chinese romance, earned $7.55 million over 13 days. Directed by Tong Ka-Fai, the story is about childhood sweethearts separated by distance and hidden family secrets. It stars He Landou, Kent Tsai and David Wang.