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China’s latest propagandistic action movie — Home Coming, directed by Rao Xiaozhi — easily won the country’s National Day holiday box office race with a $59.3 million performance, according to box office data analyst Artisan Gateway. But overall sales during the weekend were a fraction of the usual level, as a grinding slowdown in consumer activity continues to weigh on the film business.
Produced by Huace Pictures, Home Coming accounted for a strong 67 percent share of all ticket revenue for the weekend as other new releases underperformed. The film stars Zhang Yi, Wang Junkai and Yin Tao and tells the story of two courageous unarmed diplomats who travel to war-torn Africa to bring 125 Chinese citizens safely back to the motherland.
Bona Film Group’s medical rescue movie Ordinary Hero also opened Friday and came in second for the frame with $8.6 million, while Wanda’s holdover comedy Give Me Five added $4.9 million for a $34.7 million total. Local animated feature New Happy Dad and Son 5: My Alien Friend premiered Saturday and scored fourth for the weekend with $3.5 million, while yet another propaganda project, Steel Will, debuted with just $2.6 million.
The holiday sales came as a jolt after China’s exiguous ticket sales of recent weeks. But compared to National Day holidays of the recent past, the weekend bump was pretty paltry. The frame’s overall sales total of just $88 million was down 67 percent compared to China’s 2021 holiday total of $271 million, and down 65 percent from 2020.
The sales plummet shows just how deeply China’s movie market is ailing due to Beijing’s dynamic zero-COVID-19 policy and an increasingly thin slate of appealing commercial movies.
Year to date, China’s movie ticket revenue total sits at $3.70 billion, a slide of 27 percent compared to the $5.09 billion total at the same point in 2021.
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