China Box Office: 'Turtles' Fights Off All Challengers

The success of the film is a reflection of China's enduring love of 3D and the advantages of bringing stars to the country to promote a movie

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took another $25.17 million in its first full week in release in the world's second-largest film market to bring the popular franchise's cumulative total in China to $52.12 million after 10 days. That left it at the top of the box-office ranking.

In the week ending Nov. 9, Turtles racked up 236,675 screenings and notched 4.1 million admissions, according to data from research firm Entgroup.

Turtles is testament to the enduring popularity of 3D in China, where the love affair with the third dimension continues even as it has faded in Western markets. 

At the end of October, of the 52 films that made over 100 million yuan ($16.32 million), a key marker in China, 26 of them were in 3D, according to data from IHS, a research group. Of those, 17 were imported and nine were domestic movies, and they accounted for 42 percent of total box office.

Turtles' success also offers more proof of the benefits of bringing stars to China to promote a movie — Megan Fox, William Fichtner, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, and Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore all came to town.

Ranking just behind the Turtles was a different form of martial-arts movie, Teddy Chan's Kung Fu Jungle, which took $8.75 million in its first full week for a cume of $16.74 million from 127,730 screenings and 1.49 million attendees. The movie features Donnie Yen, Wang Baoqiang, Charlie Yeung and Michelle Bai.

The movie just edged out YA film adaptation The Maze Runner, which took $8.03 million in its first full week of release in China for a cume of $21.86 million. The movie chalked up 99,534 screenings and 1.53 million admissions.

Luc Besson's hit sci-fi action thriller Lucy has enduring appeal in China, adding $5.98 million to bring its gross after 17 days to $43.29 million. Starring Scarlett Johansson as a woman who is forced to take a drug that gives her extraordinary mental abilities, Lucy had 933,000 admissions and 73,000 screenings.

In the absence of a film classification system in China, Lucy did not have to worry about its R rating when it came to wooing Chinese audiences.

Behind that came For Love or Money, the first Chinese movie for Korean entertainer Rain and also featuring Crystal Liu. It earned $5.53 million in its opening weekend and can expect to earn more in coming weeks.

Coming in next was Wang Tao's action drama The Boundary, featuring Liu Ye and Vincent Zhao, which took $4.33 million in its opening weekend.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, which is only screening in 3D in China, added another $1.53 million to bring its take in China after 31 days to $96.47 million.

Ben Stassen's 3D wildlife feature African Safari took $900,000 in its opening weekend, while China's entry in the foreign-language category at the Oscars, Philippe Muyl's The Nightingale, which has been given a relatively modest release, added another $600,000 to bring its total to $810,000 after 10 days.

Rounding out the top 10 was horror flick The Haunted Cinema, which took $480,000 to bring its gross after 11 days to $1.9 million.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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