China Box Office: 'Despicable Me 2' Stays on Top, Local Rival 'Boonie Bears' Opens Big
Universal and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me 2 held its grip atop the Chinese box office, adding $18.39 million, for a cume of $33.92 million after 10 days, but local animation Boonie Bears: To The Rescue gave the minions a run for their money, taking in $16.2 million in just three days.
In the week ending on Sunday, Jan. 19, Despicable Me 2 showed on 142,850 screens with three million viewers, and average ticket prices ran at $6.10, according to data from Entgroup.
In another example of how important China is becoming as a market for Hollywood movies, third place was taken by Paramount's marquee spy franchise Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which earned a respectable $9.55 million at the box office in its opening three days, more than half what it took during its opening weekend in the U.S.
The movie showed on 64,677 screens, with 1.76 million admissions.
Boonie Bears: To The Rescue, which is a feature version of a hit show on the state broadcaster CCTV, was the breakout performer of the week.
The movie's producers, LeVision Pictures, said it took in $5.2 million (31.46 million yuan) on its opening day alone, which is an opening record for a domestically produced animated film, knocking previous record holder, Mission Incredible: Adventures on the Dragon's Tail, off its perch.
It's the third-best opening day for an animated movie in China, after Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011 and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift in 2012.
"In the past, Chinese animation films were only targeted at a child audience, but Boonie Bears has, for the very first time, attracted many adult audiences -- especially young parents and white-collar audience," said LeVision spokesperson Enya Sun.
As 3D and digital technology develop quickly in China, Chinese animation films have become more sophisticated, she said.
"As for the content, Chinese animation has showed its emphasis on local humor, Internet language and popular local trends. For example, Boonie Bears has used a great deal of popular Internet slang and jokes, which were largely appreciated by Chinese netizens and audience," Sun said.
Boonie Bears is repped internationally by Hong Kong-based All Rights Entertainment, which will screen it at the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin in February.
The performance is even more remarkable given that it went head-to-head with the latest installment of the local Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf franchise, Meet the Pegasus, which took in $7.45 million and was in fourth place.
The TV version of the popular Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf series was recently fined by the Beijing courts after two children sustained severe burns while mimicking characters from the show.
The Harrison Ford-starring adaptation of Orson Scott Card's sci-fi novel Ender's Game took in another $6.44 million for a cume of $17.47 million after nearly two weeks showing in China.
The Hong Kong romantic comedy Hello Babies, directed by Vincent Kok for the forthcoming Chinese New Year market, took in another $5.1 million for a cume of $7.64 million, while Jackie Chan's action thriller Police Story 2013 took in $3.48 million to bring its gross to $84.7 million.
Feng Xiaogang's comedy Personal Tailor took in $2.12 million to bring its cume to $114.68 million, and Derek Kwok's action thriller As the Light Goes Out came in ninth place, with a cume now of $11.88 million.
Meanwhile, Anton Megerdichev's Russian disaster movie Metro rounded out the top 10, taking in $1.24 million for a gross in China of $2.34 million.