IMAX Rings in Record-Breaking Chinese New Year with $34M

Courtesy of IMAX

IMAX Corporation set a new box office record for Chinese New Year with $34m over the six-day holiday period concluding Friday, January 27.

Total grosses for the holiday, historically the peak moviegoing period in that cinema market, exceeded the company’s previous record set in 2021 by +3% and topped its 2022 results by +54%.

China Film Group’s The Wandering Earth 2 led the way with $26.3M in box office across the IMAX network — comprising 8.2% of the film’s total gross, on less than 1% of screens.

  • The Wandering Earth 2 is now the #3-highest grossing IMAX release of all time for the Chinese New Year six-day period.
  • 2023 marks the first time IMAX has ever had a $25M+ grossing Chinese film and Hollywood film in Chinese theatres at the same time, with Avatar: The Way of Water.
  • The Wandering Earth 2 also received a limited North American release for the holiday, where IMAX earned 30% of the film’s three-day opening gross in only 31 locations.

IMAX China’s slate for the holiday also included Huanxi Media and Maoyan’s period drama Full River Red, Enlight Film’s animated Deep Sea, and Bona Film and Xiyue Films’ espionage thriller Hidden Blade.

The IMAX China network fully reopened less than two months ago following Covid-related closures, with more than a third of IMAX locations in China closed as recently as the first week of December.

Yash Raj Films’ Indian epic Pathaan also debuted this weekend with $2.5M of IMAX global box office, the biggest IMAX global opening weekend ever for a local Indian title, helping lift IMAX to a $21M global weekend.

The Chinese New Year slate will continue to play in the IMAX China alongside Disney and 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water, which will continue its run in China until mid-February.

Also in February, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania will debut in IMAX in China.

“Our historic results for Chinese New Year, along with the strong performance of the Avatar sequel and forthcoming release of key Hollywood titles in China, make it clear that the market is normalizing and IMAX is getting back to business in China,” IMAX’s CEO Rich Gelfond said in a press release. “If IMAX is breaking records in China with the market still in ‘recovery,’ it’s exciting to think about our potential as the year progresses — particularly as more Hollywood blockbusters are released into the market.”

“We commend and extend our gratitude to our filmmaking and studio partners this holiday season for delivering one of the strongest and most diverse Chinese New Year slates that we’ve ever seen,” IMAX China’s CEO Daniel Manwaring added in the same press release. “The fact that daily box office held and, in some cases, grew throughout the holiday are a strong indicator of the quality of these releases and the strong pent-up demand among Chinese moviegoers.”

Courtesy of IMAX

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