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Fox’s spy sequel The Kingsman: Golden Circle debuted to a strong $40.3 million at the Chinese box office over the weekend.
That’s a sizable improvement over the $22.5 million opening its predecessor, The Kingsman: The Secret Service, made in the Middle Kingdom in 2015.
The cheeky action-comedy, again directed by British filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, dominated screen shares while also earning $3.5 million on Imax. Worldwide, Golden Circle has brought in $250.3 million from 61 markets.
Viewer reviews in China are mostly positive — the film holds an average score of 7.3 on Douban and 8.4 on Maoyan — suggesting a solid hold throughout the week and potential trouble for Blade Runner 2049 and Geostorm, both opening Friday.
Local comedy juggernaut Never Say Die, meanwhile, finally fell to second place in its fourth weekend, adding $14.3 million for a massive haul of $307.8 million. The body-swapping sports comedy already held the title for biggest comedy ever in the China market, as well as biggest comedy of all time in any single market worldwide (Home Alone is second with $285.8 million in North America.)
Thailand’s Bad Genius, a teenage thriller about a plot to cheat on school exams, earned $7.6 million in its second weekend, taking its total to $32.9 million — by far the biggest gross to date for a Southeast Asian movie in China or any market overseas. Directed by 36-year-old Thai filmmaker Nattawut Poonpiriya, the GDH-produced picture has been embraced by international critics as much as pan-Asian youth, with THR critic Clarence Tsui calling it a “ceaselessly entertaining thriller that cedes little ground to the cheap comedy and sentimentality of recent Thai hits.”
Further down the charts, contending with a field of fellow holdovers, Jackie Chan’s STXfilms-produced co-production The Foreigner added a little less than $1 million, crossing the $80 million mark after four frames.
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