Chinese moviegoers turned out in record force Monday as the country celebrated the Year of the Monkey. Total box office on the day hit $100.5 million (660 million yuan), a 78 percent increase over the single-day record set during China’s Lunar New Years Day last year.
Hong Kong hit maker Stephen Chow’s latest comedy, Mermaid, led the way, grossing a whopping $40.9 million, including midnight screenings. The haul is the largest opening-day performance ever for a Chinese title. Furious 7 is the only movie to have scored more; it opened to $63.2 million last year.
In a dead heat for second place, the latest installment in Chow Yun Fat‘s hit gambling franchise, The Man From Macau 3, grossed $26.9 for the day (including previews), edging out The Monkey King 2 at $25.0 million, according to data from Beijing-based box office monitor EntGroup.
In its second week in cinemas, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 was overwhelmed by the three blockbuster debuts. It grossed just $2.9 million on Monday, bumping its China total to $106.3 million after 11 days.
The film, which was co-produced with China Film Group by DWA’s Chinese joint venture, Oriental DreamWorks, lost the vast majority of its screens after the weekend. KFP3 had just 9,212 showings on Monday, while the other three films were screened a combined 186,718 times. The movie also saw a precipitous 70 percent fall in its second weekend, grossing just $15.1 million Friday to Sunday. Many Chinese cinemas only screened movies in the morning or were closed entirely on Sunday as the Chinese populace spent the holiday at home with family.