China Box Office: Homegrown Rom-com Bests 'Die Hard' to Top Weekly Rankings

9:09 PM PST 03/25/2013 by Clarence Tsui
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

"Finding Mr. Right" narrowly beat "A Good Day to Die Hard" and "Resident Evil: Retribution" in earnings for last week.

HONG KONG – It’s an odd-couple comedy, it’s set in picturesque foreign climes, and it now boasts a strong opening weekend, too. As Finding Mr. Right flew off the starting block, the question among Chinese cinema-goers was: Is this another Lost in Thailand in the making?

Maybe it’s still too early to say, and the months of March and April, which come in between the Chinese New Year and May Day holidays, have always been slow for exhibitors in the country. Still, Xue Xiaolu’s Seattle-set comedy has done remarkably well since its release on March 21, taking home $12.1 million (75 million yuan) during its first four days, according to figures released by the state-backed China Film News blog.

Featuring Lust, Caution star Tang Wei as a feisty, materialistic young woman falling for a sad, single-father chauffeur, Finding Mr. Right has seemingly hit the right spot with an audience that has shown itself to be ready to embrace homegrown, contemporary-set comedies -- a trend marked by Xu Zheng’s Southeast Asian escapade Lost in Thailand.

Following the MPAA report marking China’s ascent as the second-biggest film market in the world, the success of Finding Mr. Right has taken on another symbolic value, too. It managed to keep Hollywood productions A Good Day to Die Hard and Resident Evil: Retribution off the top of the earnings charts. The Bruce Willis-starring action thriller took $11.9 million (74 million yuan) from March 18 to 24, while the latest installment of the Milla Jovovich franchise generated $11.4 million (71 million yuan) during the same period. The former has now attained a total of $27.4 million (170 million yuan), while the latter has taken nearly $16.1 million (100 million yuan).

Meanwhile, Stephen Chow Sing-chi’s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons continues its slow trek to beat Lost in Thailand’s domestic-release box-office record. The film has now taken $197.9 million (1.23 billion yuan), just $4.8 million (30 million yuan) short of Lost’s mark set in February.

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