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The Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment blockbuster earned a healthy $44.2 million in its second weekend on Chinese screens, which amounted to a slide of just 37 percent from its $70.3 million debut. But that wasn’t enough to stay on top. Underdog local drama Sister, from Shanghai-based studio Lian Ray Pictures, handily defeated the monster mashup, opening to $53.5 million.
Directed by newcomer Ruoxin Yin, Sister tells the story of a girl (Zhang Zifeng of Detective Chinatown franchise fame) who’s forced to sacrifice her big-city independence to raise her little brother after their parents are killed in a car accident. Much like Chinese New Year’s surprise smash hit, Hi, Mom, Sister‘s sentimental, family-focused story has connected with China’s post-pandemic audience in a big way, catapulting it straight into blockbuster territory. The film was reportedly made for less than $5 million (compared to Godzilla vs. Kong‘s estimated $160 million production and VFX budget).
Still, Legendary and Warners have much to celebrate in Godzilla vs. Kong‘s success in China. The film is holding better than most expected, with ticketing and data company Maoyan currently projecting a career run of $193 million. Thanks to its unexpectedly powerful North American launch of $48.5 million, Godzilla vs. Kong‘s global total stands at $285.4 million — the best of a U.S. studio film during the pandemic era by far (but still nowhere close to the $822 million earned by Hi, Mom in China alone).
Filmko Pictures’ animated feature Monkey King Reborn opened in third place with $7.4 million during the holiday weekend (it was Tomb Sweeping Day in China on Sunday), followed by comedy drama The Eleventh Chapter, from Jiabo Culture Development, according to data from Artisan Gateway.
Disney/Fox’s re-release of James Cameron’s Avatar also has continued to sell tickets at a modest clip. The film added about $1.5 million, lifting its long-running career total in China to $258.4 million.
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