• Box Office

China Box Office May 29, 2022

Jurassic World: Dominion will open in China on June 10, 2022. But Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t have a release date and probably will not get one.

In the original film from 1986, Tom Cruise wears a bomber jacket that belonged to his character’s fighter pilot father on the back of which are US Navy patches from his tours in Taiwan and Japan. In the movie’s trailer that was released pre-pandemic in 2019 (the movie kept getting bumped because of Covid), the patches on the jacket were gone, replaced by made-up ones, to probably appease the Chinese censors because China doesn’t recognize Taiwan’s independence. But according to Taiwan News, “Despite trailer images showing the Taiwanese and Japanese flags censored on a flight jacket worn by Tom Cruise’s character in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the theatrical release in Taiwan is displaying both flags as it hits cinemas across the country on Wednesday (May 25).”

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Erich Schwartzel, the Chinese online behemoth Tencent Pictures reneged on a production deal with Paramount for a 12.5% investment in the film. He surmised it could be out of fear of antagonizing the Chinese government because of the movie’s subject matter glorifying the US Navy. So it’s likely Paramount gave up on the China release and reinstated the controversial jacket flags. Such production partnerships have been common in the past with Hollywood studios counting on the local connections to expedite greenlights.

That fewer and fewer Hollywood movies are getting clearances, and China’s own film production is booming and favored by the local market, it is likely that Hollywood’s dependence on the world’s largest film market will have to wane. There is also a backlog of unreleased Chinese films, held back because of the pandemic, which will get priority.

According to ComScore, gross revenues for China in 2022 so far are $2.43 billion, and for the US they are $2.38 billion, with the US poised to overtake China for the first time in two years as the  Covid lockdowns over there continue to depress its economy.

For the weekend of May 27-29, these are the top ten films in China.

The No. 1 movie is the Japanese Doraemon: Nobita’s Little Star Wars 2021, an animated space opera that is the 41st in the Doraemon series. It is a remake of the 1985 Doraemon: Nobita’s Little Star Wars, a parody of the Star Wars films. The pandemic pushed its release date from last year to May 28, 2022 in China; it was released in Japan on March 4. It has grossed $2.95 million in two days of release.

Dreamworks’ The Bad Guys fell to second place with a total of $2.76 million for the weekend with a cumulative $29.60 million over 31 days. It is now the most successful Hollywood movie so far this year in China having overtaken Fantastic Beasts.

Again in third place is Man on the Edge, the Chinese action film that made just over $1 million Friday to Sunday, with a total gross of $21.45 million in 45 days of release.

Love Will Tear Us Apart came in fourth. It is a Chinese movie originally released on May 20, 2021, and re-released for its one-year anniversary last weekend. Its total gross is 56.25 million over 375 days.

The 2021 Chinese drama Water Boys, originally released in October 2021 and re-released this weekend, came in fifth and now has a total gross of $9.85 million after 241 days.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was No. 6, and its total gross in China is now $26.90 million with a weekend take of just under half a million dollars in 52 days.

The Chinese comedy Stay With Me was No. 7. The film about young people and their long-distance relationships also took in about half a million dollars over the weekend for a total of $24.04 million over 31 days.

Uncharted was in eighth position with a total gross of $21.36 in 77 days; Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania was ninth, earning $15.47 million so far in 57 days of release; and 2021’s horror film sequel Escape Room: Tournament of Champions rounded out the top ten with $10.14 in 58 days of release.

Last week’s new release, Universal’s Downton Abbey: A New Era, fell to 12th place and has only made $1.4 million so far in its week’s release.