Homegrown Chinese romantic comedy My Old Classmate dominated the box office during China’s May Day holiday week, taking $34.63 million for a cume of $52.3 million in the world’s second biggest film market.
Bowing after the end of an unofficial blackout period on screening imported movies, which is used by Chinese regulators to give local films a better chance of success, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shrugged off a tricky post-May Day holiday opening spot to notch up $10 million on its first day of release.
The haul marks a single-day record in China for both foreign and domestic films, and a big boost came from a midnight opening, but ticket sales were expected to slacken as people returned to work on Sunday and Monday (because of the holiday period, Sunday was a workday in the country).
Directed by Frant Guo, My Old Classmate stars Zhou Dongyu and Lin Gengxin as university classmates who fall in love but then drift apart. The movie had 216,932 screenings and 6.48 million admissions in the week to May 4, according to data from research group Entgroup.
The blackout also boosted The Great Hypnotist, which was in second place, taking $22.28 million in its first five days in mainland Chinese theaters.
The Great Hypnotist is a mystery thriller representing a new direction in genre films for China and marks the second commercial success in the mainland for its Taiwan-born director Leste Chen, who previously scored with his 2013 romantic comedy Say Yes. The movie stars Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand) and Hong Kong star Karen Mok.
Meanwhile, in third place was Donnie Yen’s Ice Man 3D.
Directed by Law Wing-Cheong and starring Yen, Wang Baoqiang and Huang Shengyi, Ice Man 3D took $10.49 million for a cume of $21.99 million.
Fourth-place Spider Man’s profile was high after Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Emma Stone visited Beijing to promote the movie last month, but the opening date was a stinker, on the Sunday, which was a normal working day to make up days lost for the May Day holiday.
In fifth place, Captain America: The Winter Soldier took in another $7.58 million, bringing its total to $115.62 million after 31 days in release in the country.
And Carlos Saldanha‘s Rio 2 is holding its own in sixth, taking another $5.71 million for a total of $37.95 million after 24 days, boosted by the fact the schools were out for half a week for May Day.
U.S.-Korean animated feature The Outback, directed by Kyung Ho Lee, took $2.86 million in its opening four days, while Transcendence took another $2.2 million to bring its China cume to $20.28 million.
Dante Lam’s psychological thriller That Demon Within earned $1.5 million for a cumulative total of $17.43 million, while Zambezia took $1.41 million in its opening five days.