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20th Century and Disney’s Free Guy opened to $23.8 million in China over the weekend, a healthy return for a Hollywood tentpole with only a week’s worth of marketing in the world’s largest theatrical market.
The family-friendly action-comedy, starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Shawn Levy, finally knocked holdover Chinese action film Raging Fire into second place. Raging Fire, which stars Donnie Yen, earned $8.5 million in its fifth weekend in cinemas, finishing the frame with $163.4 million, according to data from Artisan Gateway.
Free Guy has been well received by filmgoers in China, but a spate of Delta variant outbreaks in the country has shuttered some 30 percent of local cinemas, taking a sizable bite out of potential earnings. The film scored 7.8/10 among Douban’s discerning user base and 9.1/10 on ticketing giant Maoyan. Maoyan currently projects the film to finish its run with RMB 490.6 million, or about $75 million. In Imax, Free Guy earned $3.8 million, which was about 16 percent of the nationwide total.
Disney and Pixar’s Luca, which opened Aug. 22 as the first Hollywood title to hit the China market since Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway back in early June, added just $2.3 million in its second weekend, taking its total to $10.5 million.
With China’s summer blackout on foreign film releases over, Hollywood product is finally finding a place on Chinese screens again. But the censorship and release approval for U.S. titles has been coming at the very last minute, allowing little time for effective marketing campaigns.
Over the weekend, Skydance and Paramount’s The Tomorrow War, starring Chris Pratt, scored a release date for this coming Friday, Sept. 3. The $200 million action tentpole was acquired by Amazon Prime Video and released digitally in the U.S. on July 2. Pratt has a strong following in China thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises.
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