Never Say Die just won’t quit.
The body-swapping sports comedy from theater troupe turned film powerhouse Mahua Funage earned $30.9 million in its third weekend, bringing its 16-day total to a massive $280 million, according to box-office analysts EntGroup.
That was just enough to give it the title of biggest comedy ever in a single market, taking the crown from Ben Stiller’s and Robert DeNiro’s Meet the Fockers ($279.3 million, 2004). It also surged past Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga ($250 million) from earlier this year, becoming the biggest comedy ever in the China market.
The slapstick hit is an adaptation of a Mahua Funage stage play of the same name. It tells the story of a boxer and a journalist who mysteriously swap bodies after they are zapped by electricity. Both the play and the film were co-directed by Song Yang and Zhang Chiyu, and the film stars Ai Lun and Ma Li, the two leads from Mahua’s previous blockbuster smash, Goodbye Mr. Loser ($226 million in 2016).
Bad Genius, a Thai thriller about cunning high school kids who create a system to cheat on exams, opened in second place with $17.1 million for the weekend — a huge haul for a Southeast Asian title. Co-written and directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya, the critically well-regarded film earned $3.3 million in Thailand after its May opening.
Martial arts drama Chasing the Dragon finished in third place, adding $7.1 million for a total of $76.6 million after three weekends. That was followed by musical dramedy City of Rock, which earned $7 million, taking its total to $53.7 million.
STXfilms’s Jackie Chan co-production The Foreigner brought in $3.7 million in its third frame, taking its China total to a healthy $76.7 million. Globally, the movie just crossed $100 million, making it a clear winner given that it cost just $35 million to produce.