China Box Office: 'Warcraft' Marches Past $200M, 'Finding Dory' Debuts to Solid $17.5M

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'Warcraft'

'Warcraft' is falling fast in the Middle Kingdom, following the path of nearly every studio tentpole this year, while the animated opening for 'Dory' marks a studio best for Pixar.

Legendary Entertainment's Warcraft suffered huge attrition during its second weekend charge at Chinese cinemas, but the local sensation still managed to top Pixar's Finding Dory, which debuted in the Middle Kingdom on Friday.

The Duncan Jones-directed video game adaptation earned $23.5 million in its second Friday-Sunday frame (including a solid $8 million on Sunday), which represents a 64 percent drop from last weekend’s $65 million three-day weekend total. Warcraft has grossed $205 million after 12 days in Chinese cinemas, which compares to just $37 million in 10 days on North American screens.

Assessing Warcraft's decline in China is somewhat complicated by the unique window in which it opened, however. The movie bowed to an astonishing $46 million on Wednesday June 8, the day before a national holiday in China. According to local convention, the following Sunday then became a work day. If you consider the full Wednesday-to-Sunday stretch Warcraft's opening weekend — as Legendary did when it announced the total, the movie opened to $156 million, and its second weekend saw an 85 percent slide. 

However you parse it, Warcraft is clearly experiencing the big-splash, big-crash pattern followed by nearly every Hollywood tentpole in China this year. Captain America: Civil War, for example, opened to a huge $96 million back in May, only to slide 67 percent to $31.7 million in its second weekend. The only major outlier to the trend was Zootopia, which was boosted by effusive word of mouth and grossed more in its second weekend than its first, eventually totaling $235.5 million, the biggest performance by an imported title this year. With Independence Day: Resurgence coming to China on Wednesday, it's unclear whether Warcraft will be able to claim that crown.

In second place, Finding Dory opened to a healthy $17.5 million, making for Pixar's best bow ever in China. While that's nowhere near Dory's historic $136.2 million U.S. bow, Disney and Pixar are probably pleased with the Middle Kingdom returns so far.

Animation has been on a hot streak in China lately. Aside from Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3 pulled in $154.3 million and The Angry Birds Movie earned $77.7 million. But in the past, Pixar's pictures have been conspicuous underperformers with the Chinese audience, which hasn't seemed to connect with the whimsy and emotional subtlety that the animation studio is famed for. Inside Out grossed just $16.1 million; Monsters University earned a studio-best $33.8 million in China — but that compares with Minions' $68.4 million in China last year, or the $65.1 million earned by How to Train Your Dragon 2 in 2014. Now, it looks like Dory's cute factor and kid appeal could finally help Pixar break the spell.

In third place, 20th Century Fox's X-Men Apocalypse added $8.7 million for a $114.6 million total over 17 days. In local currency, Apocalypse (732 million RMB) has now exceeded X-Men: Days of Future Past's lifetime cume (723 million RMB) to become the franchise's biggest title in China.

The remaining spots on the charts were occupied with exiguous grosses by holdovers and minor new releases.

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