By Phil Contrino, Jonathan Papish and EntGroup Consulting
Ten new films enter the fray this week in China including four animated films as studios try to capitalize on the surge of young filmgoers on June 1st celebrating International Children’s Day. Of the newcomers, Stand By Me Doraemon (哆啦A梦：伴我同行), a 3D animated film based on the popular Japanese manga series, looks poised to take the top spot at the Chinese box office. Doraemon originated as a comic in the late 60s, and then became well-known across Asia from a popular television series in the 80s which means Stand By Me Doraemon has the potential to reach many different age groups. According to EntGroup’s EFMT Marketing Index, Doraemon boasts the highest awareness and intent to purchase levels out of all of this week’s new releases. The animated flick earned more than $70 million in Japan to become the fifth highest grossing Japanese film of 2014 and $46 million in Hong Kong to become its highest grossing Japanese film ever. Three other homegrown animated films-Happy Little Submarine Magic Box of Time (潜艇总动员：时光宝盒), The Grow 2 (金箍棒传奇2), and Super Rabbit (超能兔战队)-will open as well, but expectations are low because of Doraemon‘s strength.
Disney will send Tomorrowland to China this week following an underwhelming debut in North America. The sci-fi flick ranks second to Doraemon when it comes to awareness and intent to purchase levels on theEFMT Marketing Index. Hollywood’s science fiction titles have been mostly successful in China lately:Interstellar earned $122 million and Gravity tallied $72 million. One big recent miss is Transcendance: the Johnny Depp title flopped with only $20.4 million. The poor reviews that Tomorrowland has received from critics and the paying public alike concern us. We are anticipating modest theatrical returns in the Middle Kingdom. Early estimates for Tomorrowland‘s Tuesday opening show only $2.6 million.
Another Hollywood title also opens this week: Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein. Expectations for the thriller are very low considering that it was released in North America back in January 2014 and it amassed a very weak global cume of $71.5 million. Early estimates for the film’s Tuesday opening show $1.25 million.
With Doraemon, Frankenstein, and Tomorrowland all eating into Ultron‘s market dominance this weekend, we anticipate a relatively quick slowdown for the Disney/Marvel blockbuster, and it will end its Middle Kingdom run with a respectable $225-230 million, good for #3 on the all-time list.
Also opening: The Horizon of the Child (天边的孩子), Dawn Break Up (天亮·分手), Wonder Mama (妈咪侠) and Unmissable (不能错过).