China Box Office: YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE Detains Top Spot For 3rd Week

James Marsh, Asian Editor
Tsui Hark's fantasy prequel holds firm at the top of the Chinese charts for another week, while Hollywood's summer also-rans can muster little competition.

Rank Title Origin 7/10 - 13/10 (US$M) Total (US$M) Screening days
1 Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon China/Hong Kong $16.77 $88.64 16
2 Now You See Me USA $9.81 $9.81 4
3 The Lone Ranger USA $5.98 $11.82 9
4 Love Will Tear Us Apart China  $5.21 $5.21 2
5 Inferno 3D Hong Kong/China $5.00 $19.53 14
6 Amazing China  $1.79 $6.30 14
7 Turbo USA $1.12 $18.14 26
8 My Lucky Star China  $0.72 $21.03 27
9 The Fox Lover China  $0.57 $4.97 16
10 Silent Witness China  $0.41 $29.26 31

Since storming to the top of the charts when it debuted in the mainland on 28 September, Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon has kept a tight grip on pole position, and after 16 days on release has amassed an impressive RMB540 Million. A prequel to 2010's Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame, Tsui chose to dial the action back a generation for his second installment, recast Andy Lau with the increasingly in-demand Taiwanese actor Mark Chao (Monga, So Young) and essentially reboot the franchise. Carina Lau returns as the empress, and Angelababy - who is proving to be a far more competent screen performer than anyone had anticipated - joins the fold, in a collaboration that has proved incredibly profitable over the Chinese National Day holidays.

Louis le Terrier's disposable yet entertaining magician heist caper, Now You See Me, debuted in China this week and proved the highest new entry. But its RMB60 Million take in its first 4 days was barely half what Dee managed in its third week, but does look set to best Gore Verbinski's much maligned western The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp has been unable to work his customary box office magic in China, and the film has taken just RMB72 Million in nine days, continuing the film's poor performance around the world.

The biggest local new release of the week could only muster a 4th place debut. Love Will Tear Us Apart, a romance starring Ni Ni (from Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War) and martial artist Feng Shaofeng (who also appears in Young Detective Dee) has taken a respectable RMB32 Million in its first two days on release, and it will be interesting to see how word of mouth affects its performnce over the rest of the week. Meanwhile, the Pang Brothers' 3D disaster movie Out of Inferno, starring Lau Ching Wan and Louis Koo as feuding firefighter siblings trapped in a building, has now made over RMB120 Million after two weeks. 

The bottom half of the top 10 consists of mostly holdovers from the Chinese holidays, including Zhang Ziyi's underperforming sequel, My Lucky Star, which opened strongly thanks to the actress-producer's high-prfile appeal, but would have hoped to have accrued more than RMB130 Million after 4 weeks on release.

This week sees a slew of action movies hit Chinese screens, as James Mangold's The Wolverine opens alongside Donnie Yen's latest beat-'em-up, Special ID, war epic Target Locked and local actioner Nowhere to Run. For a bit of variety, The Love Songs of Tiedan also debuts.

Around the Internet:
  • jon pais

    Hi James, I believe you meant to write 'retains'? Anyhow, just caught Young Detective Dee here in Vietnam. An atrociously bad film, utterly nonsensical script.

  • marshy00

    No you see, it's a play on words. Coz, he's a detective...who detains people. ;-)

  • Andrew Mack

    Slow clap.

  • Willy Billy

    How the hell is m11$ in 9 days bad? that is pretty well for a movie that got trashed by the critics!

  • markus

    The Lone Ranger is now the 3rd highest grossing western genre film of ALL TIME after Django Unchained and Dances with Wolves, so its box office performance "around the world" is quite good and better than the media is giving it credit for.

    Worldwide totals:

    1. Django Unchained $425,368,238
    2. Dances with Wolves $424,208,848
    3. The Lone Ranger $260,002,115+ (still in release)
    4. True Grit $252,276,927
    5. Rango $245,724,603
    6. Back to the Future: Part III $244,527,583
    7. Wild Wild West $222,104,681
    8. Maverick $183,031,272
    9. Brokeback Mountain $178,062,759
    9. Cowboys and Aliens $174,822,325
    10. Unforgiven $159,157,447
    11, Home on the Range $103,951,461
    12. Shanghai Noon $99,274,467
    13. 3:10 to Yuma $70,016,220
    14. Open Range $68,296,293
    15. Tombstone $56,505,065

    The critics lied. Just think had the reviews been honest, The Lone Ranger would be #1 easy, but #3 is still pretty impressive in the genre.

  • marshy00

    But nobody is comparing it to other westerns, they're comparing it to other Verbinski, Disney and Depp summer blockbusters. And compared to them it's done atrociously.

  • markus

    Disagree. I certainly liked The Lone Ranger better than all of the Pirates films which are nothing but a compilation of random shots and dream vacation aesthetics. Unlike The Lone Ranger which actually has a story with the complexity of any Dark Knight film. And the humor didn't bother me. It's a reflection on life.

  • Willy Billy

    Well their other movies were actually sequels to a movie that was very well-recived and they weren't poorly reviewd as TLR

  • And it is also not even CLOSE to breaking even at this point, with Disney likely to take a $200+ million loss on it once the advertising budget is factored in. That's beyond bad and not even remotely what Disney was counting on based on past performance. They gambled big and lost big.

  • markus

    All I care about is this is an excellent film. On the financial side $215 budget, $261 million worldwide gross. Some films don't even manage that. This film did. The loss won't be anywhere near that big and The Lone Ranger may end up turning a profit when all is said and done. DVD/Blu-Ray etc.

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