• Box Office

China Box Office May 7, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 topped the box office in China, grossing $28.54 million by Sunday’s end, breaking the poor performance streak of Hollywood films. China was the top international territory for the film.

Lately, Hollywood films are becoming subject to more and more diminishing returns in China as local audiences seem to have lost interest in them and throng to domestic titles instead. The international films that have done the best in the territory are Japanese animated films like The First Slam Dunk and Suzume.

It remains to be seen whether Guardians 3 will maintain its momentum and whether the following upcoming Hollywood releases in China will be equally welcomed by audiences – Fast X (May 17), The Little Mermaid (May 26), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2), Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 9) and The Flash (June 16).

One US company seems to be thriving in China and it’s not a movie studio. IMAX announced earnings of $7.8 million over the six-day May Day holiday, the second-highest May Day holiday grosses in China, led by Born to Fly which accounted for $6.5 million. Godspeed, Flash Over and The Big Slam Dunk were also hits released on IMAX that contributed to its bottom line. None of them were Hollywood films.

Here are the top ten films for the weekend of May 5-7, 2023.

Following Guardians 3, at No. 2 is the Chinese comedy Godspeed, a sort of Meet the Parents story where a prospective son-in-law tries desperately to win over his fiancée’s father as they take a road trip together as a family.

The film earned $101.28 million in ten days with $15.49 million over the weekend. It is directed by Xiaoxing Yi and stars Yuan Chang, Chengcheng Fan and Li Ma.

The patriotic Born to Fly, referred to as the Top Gun clone, fell to No. 3 with $94.82 million grossed over ten days and $11.33 million earned over the weekend. The storyline of the film deals with elite young fighter pilots in the People’s Liberation Army who test J-20s (advanced stealth fighter jets), pushing themselves and the planes beyond endurance.

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.

In fourth place is the Chinese romance All These Years about a couple reuniting years after they first fell in love and parted ways. Directed by Layla Ji and starring Steven Zhang and Sun Quiang, the Mandarin-language film grossed $37.56 million in ten days with $3.88 million over the weekend.


The Japanese animated The First Slam Dunk stayed in fifth place and grossed $91.93 million over 18 days with a weekend take of $2.38 million. The basketball-themed story is written and directed by Takehiko Inoue and is especially popular with fans familiar with the manga series on which it is based that was introduced in China 30 years ago.

Ending the weekend at No. 6 again is the animated feature, Racing 72H, based on a well-known animated TV series about racing competitions. It earned $5.92 million in nine days. The film premiered at the Beijing International Film Festival in April.

The Nintendo game-based The Super Mario Bros. Movie managed to end the weekend at No. 7 on Sunday with a total take of $23.91 million over 33 days. It fell to No. 13 on Saturday and No. 16 on Friday. Compared to its success in the rest of the world, Mario Bros. Movie has been a disappointment in China.

The Procurator, a detective crime story, ended the weekend at No. 8 with $8.01 million grossed over nine days. The film stars Bai Bai He, Johnny Huang and Claudia Wang and is directed by Alan Mak. It is based on a true story and follows a group of young prosecutors who tackle their jobs with zeal and idealism. It is a holdover from 2022.

Cosmicrew: Storm Force, a Chinese animated film that opened last week, made the top ten this week at No. 9, grossing $1.71 million over nine days.

Rounding out the top ten is Chinese drama Flash Over which has grossed $5.66 million over ten days. It tells the story of a rescue mission during an earthquake by firefighters battling against time and stars Du Jiang and Wang Qianyuan. The movie is directed by Oxide Pang.