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Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet only managed to make a midsize dent in China’s box office over the weekend, opening in third place but still pulling in a respectable $19.5 million.
The Disney Animation Studios sequel opened to a smashing $84.5 million in North America, but it trailed holdover titles A Cool Fish and Sony’s Venom in China, where big-budget animation tends to be hit-and-miss.
A Cool Fish, a crime drama-comedy directed by Rao Xiaozhi, gained momentum to top the weekend with $25 million. After two frames, the Emperor Motion Pictures-produced film has earned $50 million, according to leading box office tracker Artisan Gateway.
Sony Pictures’ superhero blockbuster Venom, meanwhile, added $19.6 million in its third weekend, lifting its total to an enormous $246 million. With plenty of momentum left to clear $250 million, the Tom Hardy-starring Spider-Man spinoff is already the second-biggest superhero title ever in China, following only Avengers: Infinity War ($359.5 million).
In macro news, China’s theatrical box office also pushed past 2017’s full-year total of 55.9 billion yuan. The Chinese currency has depreciated significantly during 2018, making year-to-year comparisons somewhat misleading in U.S. dollars — 2017’s total in dollars was $8.6 billion; ticket sales in dollars for 2018 as of Sunday were $8.1 billion. With a little over a month left to 2018, ticket revenue is on track to grow by at least 10 percent for the full year (in Chinese yuan).
Universal Pictures’ Rowan Atkinson sequel Johnny English Strikes Again opened in fourth place with $11.4 million — not bad considering the film cost just $25 million to make. The third film in the Johnny English series, it is the first to be released in China, where Atkinson’s brand of slapstick is well known thanks to his Mr. Bean character from television.
Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, meanwhile, is already winding down after two frames. The Harry Potter spinoff sequel added just $6.5 million in its second outing, taking its total to $52.3 million. The film won’t match the $86 million earned by its predecessor, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in 2016.
Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians, finally opening in China on Friday, will be the next big Hollywood import to watch.
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