IMAX celebrated its strongest weekend at the global box office in six months thanks to the Chinese launch of Huayi Bros. historical epic The Eight Hundred. The Chinese title delivered $6.7 of the company’s $7.5 million global weekend, more than doubling last weekend’s global IMAX figures. IMAX has now earned $15 million in China since its locations resumed operations on July 24.
The Eight Hundred is the first major new release in China in the seven months since cinemas were ordered to close due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The historical epic delivered a sorely needed $100 million-plus opening haul for the ailing Chinese film industry, which has seen its global box office market decimated by the financial toll of the pandemic.
The Eight Hundred earned $107 million from X screens in China, including $6.7 million from 637 IMAX screens. The figure includes weekday previews that began on Monday; all screenings operating at 50 percent maximum capacity.
The Eight Hundred is the first Chinese release shot entirely on IMAX cameras. The film over-indexed in the premium format over its opening frame, with IMAX screenings accounting for 6.3 percent of the film’s opening weekend despite only representing 1 percent of all screens playing the film. IMAX recorded more than 550 sold-out screenings in its first two days of previews.
“After being closed for six months, the performance of IMAX theatres at the Chinese box office continues to exceed our expectations and reinforces our belief that audiences are eager to return to theatres where local guidelines allow,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX, in a statement. “The Eight Hundred breaks new ground as the first commercial film in Asia shot entirely with IMAX cameras and its strong debut marks a significant step in the rebound of the theatrical business in the critically important Chinese market.”