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Raging Fire, the final film from the late Hong Kong director Benny Chan, burned bright in its first weekend in China’s cinemas, opening to $37.2 million from Friday to Sunday, according to data from box office tracker Artisan Gateway.
Produced by Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures and Sil-Metropole Organisation, along with Tencent Pictures, Raging Fire stars Donnie Yen as a righteous cop whose past catches up with him when a former protege gone corrupt, played by Nicholas Tse, comes seeking revenge.
A mainstay of Hong Kong’s golden age of action cinema, Chan (Big Bullet, Gen-X Cops) was diagnosed with cancer shortly after production on Raging Fire began and died in August 2020. His collaborators took over post-production and the film’s release was delayed several times due to the pandemic. Finally, in Chinese cinemas, the film has earned glowing reviews and social scores, sitting at 9.5/10 on Maoyan and 7.7 from Douban’s users. Maoyan is projecting strong legs for the action flick, with its full run forecasted at $156 million.
Huayi Brothers’ seasonal romantic drama Upcoming Summer, directed by Leste Chen, opened in second place with a healthy $20.6 million. The film tells a love story about a girl who has failed China’s all-important college entrance exam and a free-spirited boy she meets who also has to go back to school because he missed the big test the first time around. It stars Zhang Zifeng, Hao Lei and Wu Lei. Maoyan forecasts the film to earn around $50 million.
Light Chaser’s animated hit Green Snake, which debuted on top of the charts a week ago, came in third place with $10.8 million, taking its cumulative total to $56.8 million. The animated sequel is well on its way to a $80 million-plus career total, which will make it Light Chaser’s most successful release to date. Bona Film Group’s pseudo propagandistic pandemic drama Chinese Doctors added $5.1 million for a cume of $192.3 million.
Next weekend will see the release of the first imported Western film in nearly two months. It won’t be a Hollywood summer blockbuster, however. The first foreign film to break through China’s July-August blackout on non-Chinese film releases will be the obscure 2020 British Christmas movie, A Christmas Gift From Bob, a sequel to the 2016 biographical drama A Street Cat Named Bob. The film is produced by London-based Parkhouse Pictures and directed by Charles Martin Smith, but it also counts financial backing from Chinese production outfit DDDream.
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