Movies

China’s Box Office Hits $2 Billion, Overtakes North America

China’s year-to-date box office came within a whisker of $2 billion on Sunday, with the latest weekend adding $46.4 million to the running total. That was enough for China to take the 2020 global crown.

While the latest theatrical weekend total represented a 32% decline compared with the previous session, and lacked a notable new release, the incremental addition was enough to make China’s box office the biggest in the world this year.

The 2020 China aggregate stands at $1.99 billion, according to consultancy Artisan Gateway, compared with $1.94 billion for the North American market.

The year-to-date total is 75.5% adrift of where the Chinese box office was last year, but after prolonged pain, continued recovery looks to be on the cards. China Monday reported an acceleration of its third quarter GDP recovery, and cinemas are now on a similar track.

The coronavirus outbreak kept mainland Chinese movie theaters closed for nearly six months. But most have now reopened. And government-mandated capacity restrictions were eased at the end of September allowing 75% of seats to be sold.

The weekend saw patriotic omnibus film “My People, My Homeland” lead for the third successive weekend. It added $19.1 million for a $360 million cumulative score since its debut on Oct. 1.

The only significant new release, “The Story of Xi Bao” came second with $5.6 million in three days. It is a romantic drama directed by Wang Danyang adapted from a novel about an adopted son who stokes up a relationship with the daughter of his new family. Guo Caijie and Zhang Guozhu star.

Enlight Pictures’ animation “Legend of Deification” slipped from second place to third. Its $5.6 million third weekend total lifted its running total to $227 million. Behind that Alibaba Pictures’ “Coffee or Tea” added $4.9 million for a $33 million cumulative, and Peter Chan Ho-sun’s “Leap” added $4.8 million for a total of $113 million since Sept. 25.

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