China Smashes Box Office Records With $775 Million In One Weekend


Could the Hollywood dominance be over? This weekend saw China break all box-office records and make history as sales accounted for approximately $775m across the weekend. This broke the previous record by a huge amount as Chinese theaters took over $155m per day in ticket sales consecutively according to Variety.

This included a massive $424m debut for Detective Chinatown 3, the Chinese industry experienced record sales this weekend during the Chinese New Year.

55 Million Tickets Sold at the Chinese box office

Read more: Hollywood’s Invasion of China

The third film in the series from director Chen Sicheng accounted for over 40% of cinema screenings over the 3-day period with 55 million tickets sold for the film. What makes these figures even more astounding is that most cinema capacities are still running at 75% and some even 50% for higher COVID-19 risk areas.

In comparison Avengers: Endgame in 2019 across both the US and Canada took $357m, and the year before Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 took over $257m across the two countries. For comparison to 2020 Hollywood releases, Bad Boys For Life the highest-grossing film across Hollywood grossed $427 million worldwide.

Within 3 days, Detective Chinatown 3 has managed to almost eclipse the biggest grossing film from Hollywood last year. The biggest grossing release from China last year, The Eight Hundred, which was incidentally the biggest box office draw world-wide finished with $461 million.

This weekend also brought home history-making results for IMAX.

IMAX Sales Smashed in China


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Read more: Black Panther’s Advanced Tickets Sales Suggest That It’s The Most

Up 45% from 2019, the company saw sales of $25m breaking its record for the Chinese New Year period as IMAX’s best-ever opening weekend in the territory. 94% of these sales were a result of Detective Chinatown 3 which was shot entirely via IMAX cameras.

These results are particularly telling to where we may see a further shift in production and appeal to Chinese audiences from Hollywood. From recent films towards the end of the decade including Iron Man 3 and the box office bomb The Great Wall, Hollywood studios notably started a shift to co-productions and appeal to the growing market.

One series that has enjoyed a particular success has been the insanely popular Fast and Furious franchise. Back in 2017, The Fate Of The Furious was the biggest ever Hollywood release in China following the previous record holder, Fast & Furious 7.

While analysts have looked towards the 9th and (aptly named) release, F9, to being delayed this May due to market closures in the US and Europe, this may not be the case. If the series can continue to appeal to the Chinese box office and make as much money as before, if not more, then there is certainly a case that will add a particular focus to cinematic release elsewhere.

With these numbers expected to rise in 2021, one thing is for sure, China is now a major territory in its own right for Hollywood and beyond.

Will China continue to dominate the box office across 2021? Or will America return to the top once the vaccine roll-out takes place? Let us know in the comments below.


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