• Box Office

China Box Office June 11, 2023

The 30th edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival had its opening ceremony last Friday, June 9, when the star of the US-China co-production Meg 2: The Trench, Jason Statham, and director Ben Wheatley walked the red carpet accompanied by his Chinese co-stars. The film opens in China on August 4.

The festival’s opening marks its comeback after the pandemic in previous years caused a complete or partial shutdown. Several international filmmakers will be in attendance, including Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski who heads the jury.

Russia will have a huge presence at the festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter: “At the 2023 SIFF Market, a tradeshow-like event that runs in tandem with the festival, and where new international movies are bought and sold, Roskino, Russia’s state-backed film promotion body, will organize a booth titled ‘Russian Content Worldwide,’ where 18 companies will present some 75 new Russian films. It will be Russia’s largest presence at the Shanghai movie market to date.”

Russian film companies and delegations affiliated with the government have been banned by all other film festivals, although individual filmmakers that are not state-affiliated have been allowed to present their films.

THR also reports that indie film companies from the US and UK have continued to sell their movies to Russia but are just becoming more “covert about their Russia dealings,” citing STX’s Guy Ritchie movie, The Covenant, as an example.

This weekend, four Hollywood films, all sequels, are in the top ten, with three leading the charts.

Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Rise of the Beasts led the weekend on the charts with $40.65 million over three days, making China the biggest overseas territory for the movie, though it fell short of the projected $50 million start.

Based on Hasbro’s toys, the seventh iteration of the franchise is directed by Steven Caple, Jr. and stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback. The previous film, Bumblebee, made 51% of its overseas box office in China alone for a total of $170 million in 2019.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse fell to No. 2 with $9.25 million over the weekend and $35.81 million grossed over ten days. Again, China is the biggest international territory for the movie’s release so far.

Sony’s animated sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, voiced by Shameik Moore as Spider-Man and Hailee Steinfeld as Spider-Woman, follows their new adventures in the multiverse battling a powerful villain with the help of the Spider-People. The film is directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson. The original film grossed $63 million in 2018.

Fast X (tenth in the franchise) is No. 3 on the charts with $138.71 million grossed over 26 days with a weekend take of $3.54 million. F9 grossed $216 million in China in 2021 – almost 30% of its international earnings – and more than the North American total of $173 million, numbers the tenth film is unlikely to make.

The film is directed by Louis Leterrier with Vin Diesel leading an all-star cast. One more installment is due, Fast X Part II, in 2025.

The Chinese comedy Godspeed rose to No. 4 with $165.84 million grossed over 45 days and a weekend gross of $3.27 million.

The film continues to resonate with Chinese fans with its story of a prospective son-in-law trying to win over his fiancée’s father as the family takes a road trip together. It is directed by Xiaoxing Yi and stars Yuan Chang, Chengcheng Fan and Li Ma.

A restored version of Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s 1986 animated film Castle in the Sky is at No. 5 with $16.37 million over 11 days. It was the first film from the animation house Studio Ghibli co-founded by Miyazaki. (Mark Hamill dubbed the voice of the villain Muska in the original release.)

Another Japanese animated film, Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Sky Utopia, ended the weekend at No. 6, grossing $13.67 million over 11 days. This is the 42nd iteration of the animated franchise based on the Doraemon manga series by Fujiko F. Fujio and is directed by Takumi Doyama.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is at No. 7 with $88.81 million grossed over 38 days.

A new entry, the action drama The Coldest City, is eighth on the list with $0.66 million earned over two days. Directed by Yang Feng, the film tells the story of a gunman who makes a promise to a dying friend.

The setting is China in 1945 after the surrender of the Japanese. The film was shopped at the Cannes Marche du Film for international release.

Born to Fly, the Chinese Top Gun wannabe, is in ninth place. The film has now earned $123.28 million over 45 days, a disappointing performance given the patriotic subject matter.

The film is the directorial debut of Liu Xiaoshi who previously made promos for the Chinese army. It stars Wang Yibo, who started his career as a K-pop singer in the band Uniq, and Hu Jun as the leader of the team.

Rounding out the top ten is the documentary Beijing 2022, a film about the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing last year, with director Zhang Yimou, who spearheaded the opening and closing ceremonies, serving as executive director. It has earned $1.10 million over 24 days of release though it hadn’t made the top ten list till this week.

Source for all numbers: entgroup.cn