China Box Office: 1917 Debuts with Highest Weekend Since Cinemas Returned

(center) George MacKay as Schofield in "1917," co-written and directed by Sam Mendes. Image courtesy: Universal Pictures.

On China’s third weekend of reopened cinemas, war thriller 1917 launched with $5.50 million, the best frame for a film since reopening commenced there.

1917 led all three days, with $1.70 million on Friday, $1.97 million on Saturday, and $1.83 million on Sunday. (As opposed to last weekend, when three different films led on each of the weekend’s three days.) It also bested Dolittle‘s $5.28 million debut two frames ago as the top weekend in China post-pandemic.

A domestic hit upon its January 10 wide release, 1917 was originally scheduled for a February 21 release in China before getting pushed back due to public health concerns. While any comparison to pre-pandemic earnings are inexact, the last major historical war thriller to open in China was Midway with $14.4 million in November.

The re-release of 2014’s science-fiction epic Interstellar took second place with $4.14 million. This was its first full weekend, as the film debuted on a Sunday the prior weekend. Interstellar‘s $2.60 million take on Sunday, August 2, remains the top daily gross for a film in China post-pandemic.

Interstellar‘s original Chinese release in 2014 earned $121.9 million, the second-largest market behind only the U.S. with $188.0 million. The re-release success of Christopher Nolan’s film in China may be a promising sign for the writer-director’s upcoming project Tenet there on September 4

On Imax screens in China, Interstellar earned $680 thousand, just ahead of 1917 with $620 thousand.

Rounding out the market’s top five: Dolittle took the bronze medal with $2.03 million (down -37.7% from last weekend), Chinese crime thriller Sheep Without a Shepherd took fourth place with $1.94 million (down -15.6% from last weekend), and the Chinese release of sports drama Ford v. Ferrari took fifth place with $1.23 million.

Last weekend’s top film, the Chinese drama The Enigma of Arrival with $3.35 million, failed to make the top 10 at all this weekend.

Next weekend will see the Chinese release of Bad Boys For Life, a hit upon its January 17 release domestically, and a re-release of 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

According to EntGroup, which tracks the Chinese box office, one U.S. dollar is equal to about 6.872 Chinese Renminbi.

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