China Box Office: Local Comedy Takes Top Spot, 'Captain America' Sequel Drops to Third Place

1:27 AM PST 04/29/2014 by Clifford Coonan
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens on May 4 in China

A strong performance by Chinese movies, such as "My Old Classmate," outshines Hollywood releases ahead of the upcoming May Day holiday.

BEIJING – Homegrown Chinese romantic comedy My Old Classmate beat out Donnie Yen’s Ice Man 3D to take the pole position at the Chinese box office for the latest week, with previous leader Captain America: The Winter Soldier relegated to third place, according to data from research group Entgroup.

While Hollywood had an underwhelming week in the world’s second largest film market, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due to open on May 4. It is expected to do well here, especially after Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Emma Stone came to Beijing to promote the movie last month.

However, the opening date is just after the May Day holiday here. Because of the complicated system of public holidays, Sunday, May 4 is a working day, and  schools are open.

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Directed by Frant Guo, My Old Classmate stars Zhou Dongyu and Lin Gengxin as university classmates who fall in love but then drift apart.

The movie took $17.31 million in its opening weekend, with 96,490 screenings and 3.29 million admissions, according to estimates by  Beijing-based Entgroup for the week to April 27.

In its opening weekend, Ice Man 3D took $11.28 million from only a slightly lower number of screenings (96,359) but a considerably lower number of admissions at 1.89 million.

Ticket prices at an average of $6 were an average of 70 cents higher for the 3D movie, showing how much of a boost the 3D format can give a movie in China.

Ice Man 3D is directed by Law Wing-cheong and stars Yen, Wang Baoqiang and Huang Shengyi.

In third place, Captain America: The Winter Soldier took in another $8.94 million, bringing its total to $107.22 million after 24 days in release in the country.

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In fourth place was Dante Lam’s psychological thriller That Demon Within, which took another $7.73 million in its first full week for a cumulative total of $15.67 million.

The movie, which features Daniel Wu as a dutiful police constable wracked by doubt after he saves the life of a notorious and ruthless killer played by Nick Cheung, had 125,062 screenings and 1.54 million admissions.

Johnny Depp's Transcendence was in fifth place, making $7.17 million during its first full week in China, bringing its total to $17.82 million.

The film was co-produced by Beijing and L.A.-based DMG and got a heavy marketing push in China before its day-and-date local release, including a visit from its star. 

Carlos Saldanha's Rio 2 took another $6.78 million for a total of $31.79 million after 17 days, placing it in the sixth spot.

The four other movies in the top 10 were local titles -- Best Suspects took $560,000 for a total of $1.34 million, and local horror movie Death Is Here 3 took $230,000 for a total of $5.47 million.

This was followed by Hong Kong movie Delete Lover, which recorded box-office revenue of $220,000 for a cume of $3.76 million, and plastic surgery romp The Truth About Beauty, directed by Aubrey Lam and produced by Peter Chan’s We Pictures, added $220,000 to take its cume to $13.38 million.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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