• Box Office

World Box Office, February 15-21, 2021

On a week when there was only one major new film release (Nomadland) in America, the biggest box office action was still happening in China. Two movies, Hi, Mom and Detective Chinatown 3, posted spectacular cumulative earnings of $624 million and $621 million, respectively.

In a strong carryover from the Lunar New Year holiday, Hi, Mom, director Jia Ling’s film adaptation of her sketch comedy about familial love, amassed $134 million to reign on top of the world’s largest movie market.

The filmmaker’s cinematic tribute to her mother, Li Huanying, managed to topple Detective Chinatown 3, which shattered a box office world record when it earned $397 million on its first three days of release. Those figures set the record for the world’s biggest opening weekend in a single market, beating Avengers: Endgame’s $357 million when it bowed in the United States and Canada (considered as a single market).

But due to the strong word of mouth reaction toward Hi, Mom, Chinatown Detective 3 stepped down to the second spot with $45.5 million. For now, though, the third installment of the comedy-mystery-buddy film franchise, directed by Sicheng Chen, holds the world record for having the highest opening weekend earnings for a movie in a single territory.

Rounding out the top six of China’s box office chart were Yang Lu’s action-adventure A Writer’s Odyssey ($20.2 million), Andy Lau’s comedy-crime-drama Endgame ($14.7 million), the animated films Boonie Bears: The Wild Life ($9.9 million) and New Gods: Nezha Reborn ($9.17 million).

In the North American market, where, unlike China, majority of the movie theaters are still shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Croods: A New Age was amazingly number one again. The animated film, directed by Joel Crawford, took in $1.7 million and crossed the $50 million mark.

With that milestone, the Croods sequel, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, the late Cloris Leachman and Peter Dinklage, joins Tenet as the only two films to pass the $50 million benchmark in the domestic market during the COVID-19 health crisis.

With its $50.85 million take, Croods 2 might eventually beat the $57.9 million of Christopher Nolan’s science fiction action-thriller and become the highest-grossing movie of the pandemic era.

On its fourth week, The Little Things, the neo-noir crime thriller starring Jared Leto, Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, grabbed the second slot with $1.2 million. Judas and the Black Messiah, featuring Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, leader of the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, scored $905,000.

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 hung on to number four with $805,000.  Liam Neeson’s The Marksman made $775,000, enough to stay in the top five.

Rounding out the top 10 were Milla Jovovich’s Monster Hunter ($510,000), Frances McDormand’s Nomadland ($503,000), Robin Wright’s Land ($500,000), Tom Hanks News of the World ($245,000) and Robert De Niro’s The War With Grandpa ($224,000).

It will be interesting to see how the Chloé Zhao-helmed Nomadland, which opened to around 1,200 locations this previous weekend, continues to fare as the awards season shifts into a higher gear.

Set to open next weekend and hoping to jazz up the box office scene are Tom and Jerry, a live action/animated hybrid with Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Peña and the classic Hanna-Barbera pair; writer-director Julie Delpy’s My Zoe with Daniel Brühl, Gemma Arterton and Richard Armitage; and filmmaker Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings.