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.

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