China Box Office: PACIFIC RIM Stays Top, Smashes US Total

James Marsh, Asian Editor
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim continues to dominate the Chinese box office, holding on to the top spot for a third consecutive weekend, while local product also draws solid numbers.

Rank Title Origin 12/8-18/8 (US$M) Total (US$M) Screening days
1 Pacific Rim USA $23.50 $103.41 19
2 Tiny Times 2 China $16.92 $44.41 11
3 One Night Surprise China $15.42 $22.95 10
4 Unbeatable Hong Kong/China $8.99 $8.99 3
5 The Palace China $7.47 $7.47 6
6 Fast & Furious 6 USA $2.75 $65.89 24
7 Crimes of Passion China $1.27 $3.53 11
8 I Love Wolffy 2 China $1.26 $11.73 18
9 White House Down USA $0.50 $28.47 28
10 Kunta China $0.33 $2.29 17

It's official, the Chinese love Pacific Rim more than the Americans do. Industry observers have long been talking of the day when the US market is overtaken by China and how Hollywood blockbusters can no longer succeed by solely catering to American audience's tastes. Well, it appears that the day has arrived. Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures' mecha-vs-monster epic, Pacific Rim has now taken more money at the Chinese box office than back on home soil and may have guaranteed it will get a sequel after all. 

As of 18 August, the underperforming sci-fi actioner had taken just US$98.3 Million back home, five weeks after opening. In China, however, its box office take now stands at US$103 Million - a figure it has reached in less than 3 weeks. While its takings are now slowing, Pacific Rim still held on to the top spot comfortably, despite solid performances from two locally produced dramas, Tiny Times 2 and One Night Surprise. Both films are directed by, and star women in the lead roles, so no doubt benefitted from being healthy counter-programming choices, while continuing China's recent trend for contemporary urban-set dramas highlighting free-spirited women succeeding in today's modern environment.

Dante Lam's MMA drama, Unbeatable, debuted to a modest RMB55 million opening weekend, but should benefit from strong word-of-mouth and stands pretty much unopposed in terms of male-centric Chinese language product. Although the addition of a stripped and ripped Eddie Peng should help draw female audiences once word gets out this is more of a character drama than a fighting film. The bottom half of the chart sees a combination of aging Hollywood fare and domestic animation take massive drops and will all likely fall out of the Top 10 by this time next week.

Among the new releases opening in China this week, Pixar's Monster's University is expected to make a huge impact, while Xu Zheng (writer-director-star of the massive hit comedy, Lost in Thailand) returns with Fake Fiction, a romantic comedy, which he produces and also takes the lead in.

Around the Internet:
  • TheAngryInternet

    Should've mentioned this week's other Hollywood release: Jurassic Park 3D opened yesterday to surprisingly good business (for a 20-year-old film that doesn't have the same nostalgia value in China as Titanic) and will easily top next week's chart. It could well even beat Monster University's total, given that Pixar movies are chronic underperformers in the mainland. This is actually JP's first run in mainland theaters, since the original version was just a little too early to be part of the first wave of big-studio blockbusters in 1994.

  • Hiroaki Johnson

    I was surprised to see it opened poorly in Japan.

  • fo demo

    Ignore them... The truth is Kaiju movies don't sale There hasn't been Kaiju movie that made money since Godzilla:GMK in 2001 and the last well reviewed Kaiju movie in Japan was Gamera the Brave which bombed in the box office.

  • akemsley

    That's because the Japanese created the giant mech and monster genres... To them Pacific Rim is just another cheap Western rip-off.

  • Hiroaki Johnson

    The Transformers movies did well there. In my experience the Japanese have a prejudice towards Western games, not so much movies.

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