China Box Office: 'The Man From Macau' Surges Ahead of Rivals in Hard-fought Week

Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

In a high-stakes week, the casino comedy from Wong Jing rode its luck at the top of the charts.

Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-fat overtook Jackie Chan's historical epic Dragon Blade and $40 million Sino-French epic Wolf Totem, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, in a fiercely competitive week at the box office in China.

Theaters were packing out as the week-long Lunar New Holiday continued in China, with the country's swelling middle-class choosing to go to the movies to mark the arrival of the Year of the Goat.

Written and directed by Wong Jing, who made the God of Gamblers movies, The Man from Macau, also known as From Vegas to Macau, added another $69.78 million for a cume of $113.71 million after 11 days on release, with from 211,912 screenings and 10.94 million admissions. The casino movie, from Bona Film, also features Nick Cheung and Carina Lau.

Wolf Totem was in second place, adding another $47.24 million for a gross of $80.09 million after 11 days, according to data for the week to March 1 from the research outfit Entgroup.

Backed by China Film Group, the movie had 154,502 screenings and 7.47 million admissions.

Jackie Chan's historical action movie Dragon Blade slipped into third place in the top 10, adding another $45.88 million for a gross of $101.58 million after 11 days on release. Featuring Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody, the movie had 175,712 screenings and 6.98 million admissions.

Directed by Daniel Lee, Dragon Blade is inspired by a missing legion of Roman soldiers that traveled into China in 48 BCE. The cast also includes South Korea's Choi Si-won, member of the K-pop band Super Junior, who has previously appeared in Battle of Wits.

Behind that came Zhong Kui: Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal, a $30-million, 3D, VFX fantasy action adventure co-directed by Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu and produced by Ann An of Desen International Media.

Featuring Chinese stars Li Bingbing (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and Chen Kun (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate), the movie added $27.18 million for a gross of $58.97 million after 11 days on release, with 132,861 screenings and 4.28 million admissions.

The lengthy blackout period where overseas movies had to give way to domestic films comes to an end, and the first Hollywood outing was Disney's animated feature Big Hero 6. The toon took $13.81 million in its first two days, from 59,472 screenings with 2.16 million admissions.

The reality TV adaptation Dad, Where Are We Going? 2 took another $13.78 million for a total of $34.84 million after 11 days, with 105,720 screenings and 2.68 million admissions. Dad, Where Are We Going? 2 is one of a growing genre of reality TV adaptations that leading directors such as Feng Xiaogang see as a blight on creativity in the Chinese industry.

Behind that was the Hong Kong movie Triumph in the Skies, directed by Wilson Yip and Matt Chow, and starring Louis Koo, Sammi Cheng, Charmaine Sheh and Amber Kuo, which took another $10.4 million for a cume of $23.27 million.

In eighth place was another TV reality adaptation, indeed another version of Dad, Where Are We Going? called Emperor Holiday, which has grossed $17 million after 11 days, while Boonie Bears: Mystical Winter, the second installment of the popular domestically produced franchise, was in ninth place, adding $2.87 million for a gross of $47 million.

Xu Jinglei's romance Somewhere Only We Know rounded out the top 10, adding another $810,000 for a cume of $45.16 million after 20 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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