• Box Office

China Box Office July 31, 2022

A new release, Chinese sci-fi comedy Moon Man, skyrocketed to the top of the box office after it opened this weekend, also showing on IMAX. Its presales had been off the charts – 100 million yuan – by Thursday, the biggest of the summer season according to Lighthouse, the entertainment data company. The Chinese VFX industry is improving by leaps and bounds  – about 95% of its shots use visual effects, all done by Chinese companies, according to china.org.cn. It received critical raves as well.

The film tells the story of one man left alone on the moon. Director Zhang Chiyu: “In the film, a lone man on the moon watches an asteroid hit the Earth, and he thinks he is the last human being in the universe, but the survivors on the Earth, including his dream lover, are watching his every move in a live cast … The sci-fi is the setting, but we focus on the comedy.”

The film grossed $147.06 million in three days of release, far ahead of all the others.

Paramount’s action-adventure comedy The Lost City had a last-minute China release. It opened this weekend at No. 4 on Friday, fell to No. 13 on Saturday, and is No. 14 on Sunday with a three-day gross of $0.23 million.

Directed by Adam and Aron Nee, it stars Sandra Bullock (who also produced) and Channing Tatum, two popular actors in China who play a romance novelist and her cover model on the trail of a lost city from one of her books. The film also stars Daniel Radcliffe and features a cameo from Brad Pitt. It was released theatrically on March 25 and has already grossed $190 million worldwide. It became available for streaming on Paramount+ on May 10. The DVD version was released on July 26.

It is common for the cast of Hollywood movies to make promotional videos for the Chinese market. It was done by the cast of the new Downton Abbey (without much success box office-wise) and Bullock and Radcliffe made one for The Lost City. “We are very excited for you guys to see our new movie,” Bullock said in the video. “If you like laughs, action, adventure, intrigue and a dash of romance, then this is the movie for you,” added Radcliffe.

A premiere was held in Beijing on July 26 where a jungle theme festooned the cinema house.

In an earnings call for IMAX Corp. on July 29, CEO Rich Gelfond predicted that more Hollywood films will play in China, including Avatar: The Way of Water. He said the backlog of local films has been cleared and there will be room for more US product.

For the weekend of July 29-31, here are other films on the top ten charts.

Chinese serial killer murder mystery Detective vs. Sleuths fell to No. 2. It made $3.5 million over the weekend with a total of $98.11 in 24 days of release including a week of previews. The story is set in Hong Kong and stars Sean Lau as a former detective force who had a mental breakdown. On his own, he goes after a serial killer called the “Sleuth.” The film costars Raymond Lam and Carman Lee Yeuk-tung, and is written and directed by Wai Ka-fai. It has an IMAX release.

Huge hit Lighting Up the Stars is No. 3 on the charts. The film is directed by Liu Jiangjjiang and tells the story of a funeral director (Zhu Yilong) and a young girl (Yang Enyou) who become friends once he gets out of prison. It has grossed $243.38 million in 38 days, with a three-day weekend take of $3.31 million.

New entry Kaka, an animated adventure film, takes fourth place. It is directed by Xuhui Xing and made $1.48 million in 2 days of release.

Animated comedy Crazy.Kwai.Boo Sanxingdui (Spirited Away) opened wider after a week in previews at No. 5, earning $1.21 million in 3 days of release. The total includes previews.

Originally released on Netflix in 20211 because of the pandemic, animated film My Little Pony: A New Generation opened on Saturday, earning $0.84 million in 2 days of release and coming in at No. 6. It is based on Hasbro’s My Little Pony franchise and is directed by Robert Cullen and Jose Ucha. Its voice cast includes Vanessa Hudgens and James Marsden.

In seventh place is Jurassic World: Dominion, which has grossed $156.09 million in 52 days of release.

Octonauts: The Caves of Sac Actun, a rereleased Netflix animated feature film from 2020 with a Chinese voice cast is No. 8. It has grossed $10.82 million over the 23 days of its rerelease. It is based on the television series written by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy and is about eight little cartoon characters who live beneath the sea and go on adventures. There have been five TV seasons and two feature films.

Mozart from Space takes the ninth slot and is considered a disappointment, with a total take of $32.79 million over 17 days. The Chinese comedy, also known as Mozart in Outer Space, has been released in the US as well.

Rounding out the top ten is Almost Love, a romantic comedy in previews. It has made $0.15 million.