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Chen Sicheng’s comedy-mystery Detective Chinatown won the busy first weekend of 2016 at the Chinese box office. The film, set in Thailand and produced by Wanda and Tencent’s Heyi Pictures, grossed $43.6 million from Friday to Sunday.
Local films are making hay before Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes its belated bow in China on Jan. 9.
Bolstered by strong word of mouth, Mr. Six, starring veteran Chinese director Feng Xiaogang as a crime lord gone to seed, managed an impressive hold in its second weekend in Chinese cinemas, grossing $34.49 million. The film’s evocative theme about China’s recent rapid social changes — reflected through the Beijing underworld — has struck a nostalgic chord in China’s capital city.
For the full week running Monday to Sunday (Jan. 3), Mr. Six topped the charts, earning $68.5 million for an 11-day cume of $108.45 million as of Sunday (Detective Chinatown, which premiered Wednesday, Dec. 30, came in second for the full week with $66.51 million, including preview screenings). Mr. Six was produced by Huayi Brothers and was well received by critics at the Toronto and Venice film festivals.
In third for the full week, fantasy action movie Mojin — The Lost Legend racked up another $52.80 million, hitting $242.51 million after 17 days. By last Wednesday (Jan. 31), the movie’s $210.21 million gross had already earned it a place as the seventh-biggest movie of 2015 in China.
Actor-director Deng Chao’s lowbrow comedy Devil and Angel continued its slide down the charts, falling from second to fourth for the week. The movie grossed $79.27 million in its first four days last week, but it since has been hurt by negative word of mouth. The movie grossed $19.57 million over the past seven days, bumping its 11-day cume to $99.2 million.
The next three slots were occupied by family-friendly fare that premiered over the lucrative holiday weekend. Another comedy, Heart for Heaven, scored $11.7 million after four days for fifth place. Beijing-based studio Light Chaser Animation’s debut film Little Door Gods opened in sixth with $10.62 million from Friday to Sunday, plus preview screenings. Family comedy Everybody’s Fine landed in seventh with $3.71 million from its first weekend.
Patrick Kong’s Anniversary, an underperforming Hong Kong romance, added $850,000 to its $1.72 million 11-day total. Falling from fourth last week to ninth, period comedy Surprise scored a final full-week score of $620,000. Its total after 17 days sits at $50.29 million. Coming in tenth, Chinese horror flick Massagist, directed by Thailand’s Taweewat Wantha, earned just $250,000 from four days in cinemas.
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