‘Lost in Hong Kong’ First Week Ahead of ‘Monster Hunt’ Numbers


by Robert Cain for China Film Biz

Terminator Genisys

Just a week into its release in PRC theaters, Lost in Hong Kong will easily surpass the 1 billion Chinese renminbi (US$160 million) mark. The sequel to the 2012 megahit Lost in Thailand now stands 7% ahead of the opening week pace of all-time box office champion Monster Hunt.

It took the Xu Zheng directed comedy only 5 days to cruise past Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation, which is in its 23rd day of release in China, and to enter the ranks of the 8 highest grossing movies there this year. The film will meet little resistance in climbing past Jian Bing Man, Jurassic World and Avengers: Age of Ultron into the year’s top 3. Whether it has the legs to catch up with Furious 7 and Monster Hunt, each at just over 2.4 billion RMB, remains to be seen.

One factor that could slow Lost in Hong Kong down is that it faces a slew of competing releases this week as the National Day holiday week begins. One such competitor, Lu Chuan’s The Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe, took first place on Wednesday with a solid $14.2 million opening day, compared to Lost in Hong Kong’s $13.7 million for the day.

LiHK vs MH

Among other releases that will attempt to cut down the Lost juggernaut are a pair of Disney imports: Pixar’s Inside Out, opening October 6th, and Marvel’s Ant Man, opening October 16th.  Inside Out should open on about 15 to 20 percent of China’s movie screens, but its impact there will likely be limited, for two reasons. First, Pixar has struggled in China, with most of its films underperforming there relative to their success in the rest of the world. Second, a pirated HD version of the film is already widely available, which will unfortunately allow many families with kids to view it at home rather than at the multiplex. Such are the hazards of China, where releases like Inside Out can be delayed for 6 months or more.

Of course, Monster Hunt also scored its 2.44 billion RMB ($392 million) record gross despite hefty completion from Jian Bing Man and Monkey King: Hero is Back. All three films played in China’s multiplexes at the same time in August, yet they managed to notch the number 1, number 5 and number 7 rankings among all films for the year so far.

Top Grossers 2015

Whatever its final tally, Lost in Hong Kong will put China that much closer to achieving a $7 billion aggregate box office gross by year’s end, a remarkable achievement for a territory that was worth only $1.5 billion in annual box office in 2010.

Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

‘Lost’ Finds Whopping $106 Million 3-Day Debut In China

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‘Lost’ Finds Whopping $106 Million 3-Day Debut In China


‘Lost’ Finds Whopping $106 Million 3-Day Debut In China

by Robert Cain for China Film Biz

LiHK 3

Taking advantage of its prime opening weekend slot during the Harvest Moon Festival, Lost in Hong Kong grossed more than $32 million per day in each of its first 3 days for a spectacular $106 million weekend, the best ever for a Chinese movie. Only Furious 7, which debuted to $121 million in its Sunday-Tuesday opening in April, has ever notched a bigger 3-day opening in China.  Keep reading in Forbes…

Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

‘Lost in Hong Kong’ Romps To New China Box Office Record


‘Lost in Hong Kong’ Romps To New China Box Office Record

by Robert Cain for China Film Biz

LiHK2

Lost in Hong Kong, actor-writer-director Xu Zheng’s long anticipated sequel to his 2012 smash hit comedy Lost in Thailand, set new box office records on Friday for locally made Chinese films, with a $1.8 million gross for its midnight screenings and a $32 million opening day. The latter figure gives the picture the third biggest debut overall in China behind Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Keep reading in Forbes…

Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

‘Gravity’ defies ‘Storm’ and Staves Off ‘Hunger’ in China For Second Straight Weekly Win


Follow me on Twitter @robcain or Sina Weibo @robcain, or connect with me on LinkedIn.The White Storm poster

By Robert Cain for China Film Biz

December 3, 2013

Strong word of mouth helped Gravity to float to a modest 36 percent decline in its second week, enabling it to fend off newcomer The White Storm and land its second straight win at the Chinese box office. Still going strong in its third week, Gravity should have no problem surpassing $70 million, even in the face of heavy competition from new Chinese openers.

This total would lock Gravity’s place as the 3rd biggest foreign release in China this year, behind Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim. But it probably won’t be enough for the film to score a top 10 slot overall, as so many local films have performed well in 2013.

The Benny Chan directed action-crime thriller White Storm debuted to good but not great numbers, eking out a slim lead over Gravity during the past 3-day weekend, when they competed head-to-head. Blue Sky Studios’ animated adventure Epic fell far behind, mustering just $3.65 million in its 3-day weekend debut. The 7-month delay in Epic’s PRC release was undoubtedly a factor in its modest showing.

Box office for week ending Dec 1, 2013

Escape Plan will finish up its PRC run with an impressive $41.5 million, nearly double its U.S. total. Considering all the love China has shown in recent years for Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie’s sexagenarian stars, it will be a good idea for Hollywood to dust off its old two-hander action scripts and re-set them in China for this dynamic action duo.

For the first time since early September the weekly box office tally fell short of last year’s comps. Cumulative box office for the week ending December 1st saw a 7 percent decline to $58.5 million from the 63 million total in week 48 of 2012, when Life of Pi reigned.

Today saw the long-awaited debut of director Ning Hao’s No Man’s Land, an adventure thriller that has survived two major revisions and six aborted theatrical release dates over the past four years as DMG, CFG, Galloping Horse and the filmmaking team struggled to conform to the SARFT censors’ restrictions. Originally slated to release in 2010, the film stars the hugely popular Huang Bo and Xu Zheng, who co-starred in last year’s megahit Lost in Thailand.

With its excellent $3.5 million opening day, No Man’s Land should easily top Ning Hao’s prior personal record gross of $24.7 million for last year’s Guns ‘n Roses, though the director claims he doesn’t care how much the new film earns.

“If I wanted to make big money, I could have stayed at home (in coal-rich Shanxi province) and mined coal with my classmates, who are now all billionaires,” Mr. Ning said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. I just want to do something that I like.”

Of course, what China’s theater operators would like is a big December for local Chinese pictures. With nearly 18,000 movie theater screens now in operation (35 percent more than at this time last year) and an average of 12 or 13 new ones opening every day, they are increasingly reliant on local films to help them pay off their investments.

November’s box office totaled $250 million, a 36 percent increase over 2012, and cumulative year-to-date box office now stands at $3.22 billion. If December’s revenue merely matches last December’s total—a distinct possibility given the tough comps established in 2012 by Lost in Thailand—then China’s total for 2013 will wind up just shy of $3.6 billion.

If, on the other hand, expected hits No Man’s Land, Personal Tailor and Police Story can each draw $80 million to $100 million in ticket revenue, then the year-end total could, just possibly, reach $3.7 billion.

Robert Cain is a producer and entertainment industry consultant who has been doing business in China since 1987. He can be reached at rob@pacificbridgepics.com and at www.pacificbridgepics.com.