China Box Office: Valentine's Day Lifts 'Somewhere Only We Know' Ahead of New Year Face-Off

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'Wolf Totem' is one of the big movies being released for Lunar New Year

The big Hollywood performers are 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,' with a cume of $32 million in China, and 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,' which has grossed nearly $122 million.

China's growing affection for the Valentine's Day holiday lifted Xu Jinglei's Somewhere Only We Know to the top of the box-office charts, with the romance taking $37.81 million in its first six days of release.

It was a strong performance in what is normally a quiet period ahead of the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday starting Feb. 18.

The lateness of Lunar New Year this year means it comes just after Valentine's Day, which has become a major event in the moviegoing calendar.

The Year of the Goat will kick off with six big Chinese movies going head to head, including the Jean-Jacques Annaud-helmed Wolf Totem, which took $7.6 million in presales ahead of its Feb. 19 launch.

Also opening on Lunar New Year's Day is Jackie Chan's Dragon Blade, and two movie adaptations of the reality show Where Are We Going to, Dad?

Featuring former EXO boy band member Kris Wu and mainland actress Wang Likun, Somewhere Only We Know is the story of a girl who goes to Prague after her boyfriend breaks off their engagement, then meets a new man. Actress/director Xu's romance has seen a spate of people proposing marriage in the multiplexes, and it had 243,416 screenings and seven million admissions in the week through Feb. 15, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

Behind that was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, the latest installment in Lionsgate's YA film franchise, which took nearly $10 million in its opening day in China. It added another $21.92 million to that for a cume of $31.86 million after eight days, with 200,276 screenings and 3.6 million admissions.

Mockingjay's performance is all the more remarkable given that pirates have had months to flood the market with illegal downloads.

Chinese schoolchildren have been on holiday for more than three weeks at this stage, which has given a boost to animated movies.

Boonie Bears: Mystical Winter, the second installment of the popular domestically produced franchise, was in third place in the box-office charts, adding another $8.32 million to its cume of $40.13 million after 17 days, with 85,767 screenings and nearly 1.5 million admissions.

Another animated children's feature, Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf – Amazing Pleasant Goat, was in 10th place, taking another $1.62 million for a cume of $9.83 million.

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies took another $7.54 million for a gross of $121.72 million after 24 days, with 47,978 screenings and 1.1 million admissions.

After a week in which top local director Feng Xiaogang took aim at feature spinoffs from reality shows, Running Man, an adaptation of a Korean format, took another $6.27 million to add to its cume of $68.45 million.

The movie has been in release for 17 days, which is 11 days longer than it reportedly took to shoot.

The movie features Wang Baoqiang (Lost in Thailand), Li Chen (Aftershock), Zheng Kai (So Young), Angelababy (Love on the Cloud) and the Korean singer and TV personality Kim Jong-Kook.

Li Xinman's romantic comedy One Night Stud notched up another $4.68 million to gross $9.67 million after 10 days, while Crazy New Year's Eve, an ensemble piece directed by Eva Jin, Pan Anzi, Zhang Jiarui and Song Di and aimed squarely at the Chinese New Year holiday, took another $4.49 million for a cume of $10.28 million.

Behind that in ninth place was An Inspector Calls, which added another $1.76 million for a cume of $5.7 million after 10 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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