• Box Office

China Box Office, May 1, 2022

Covid lockdowns continue in China affecting the entire economy. Shanghai has been shuttered for over a month. Beijing is in the process of a lockdown as well with more and more businesses and residential compounds closing down. One compound had a sign that said “Entry only. No exit,” according to Reuters. People have been banging pots and pans every evening in protest, and long lines for mass covid testing have been seen. Those infected have been dispatched to quarantine hotels.

On April 30, Shanghai shut down Universal Studios and banned all restaurant dining. This is in anticipation of the five-day Labor Day holiday that started that same day.

About 343 million people have been affected all over the country with 46 cities completely or partially locked down, more than the population of the US, according to the Washington Post. “Together, the idled areas generate 40 percent of China’s economic output. To all the other storms buffeting the world’s vitality – the Ukraine crisis, US inflation, sky-high fuel costs – add the likelihood that China is sending itself into a recession.”

This is reflected in the Chinese box office. More than half the cinemas are closed; the Chinese are scrambling to stock up on food, so it’s a miracle that any of them have time to entertain themselves by going to the movies. But some have.

New release Stay With Me, a Chinese comedy about the challenges of long-distance relationships among young people tops the chart with a take of $8.36 million over the weekend. It was released on April 29 and features up-and-coming stars Ren Min and Xin Yun Lai.

The animated The Bad Guys from Dreamworks, voiced by Sam Rockwell and Awkwafina among others, is another new release this weekend, coming in at No. 2 with a total of $4.5 million. It has led the US and international box office for the past week earning $118 million worldwide, opening in several territories ahead of China.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore dropped to third place with a gross of $20.63 million in 24 days of release with a weekend take of under $3 million.

The action-suspense film Man on the Edge takes fourth position, dropping from second place last weekend, with a gross of $12.44 million over 17 days and $2.19 over this weekend.

Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania holds onto its fifth place, earning $10.84 million so far in 29 days of release with $1.72 million over the weekend.

Drishyam, the Malayalam-language Indian film (it is a 2015 release) drops to No. 6 with a total gross of $2.80 million over 17 days, probably attracting fans of the 2019 Chinese remake Sheep Without a Shepherd.

Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg was good enough for seventh place with $18.50 million over 49 days.

Robert Pattinson’s fans are still trickling into screenings of The Batman, holding in eighth place. It has now made $23.03 million in 45 days, no doubt a huge disappointment to Warner Bros. The film has grossed over $760 million worldwide; in normal times China would have added significantly to the total.

The only bright spot for Hollywood is the stateside flop Moonfall which is still in the top 10, coming in at No. 9 this weekend, earning $20.95 million in China of its worldwide $43 million take.

Horror film sequel Escape Room: Tournament of Champions rounds out the top ten with a total gross of $7.73 million in 30 days of release. It is a 2021 film.

Ambulance, the Michael Bay-directed thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul Mateen, which was No.3 last weekend, fell out of the top ten to No. 12, grossing $2.01 million in 10 days.

Upcoming on May 13 is Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s Marry Me.

Downton Abbey: The New Era with Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, and Maggie Smith opens May 20.