China Box Office: 'Bumblebee' Makes Muscular $59M Start

To date, 'Transformers' movies have earned over $875 million in China.

Paramount's Bumblebee swept into China and crushed the competition with a muscular first-place performance over the weekend.

The Travis Knight-directed Transformers spinoff debuted to $58.8 million, according to data from Artisan Gateway. A healthy $6.1 million of that total came from some 584 Imax screens. 

Chinese multiplexes can be quiet on the first weekend after New Year's, but Bumblebee's robust showing came as little surprise given the Middle Kingdom's abiding love of the Transformers franchise. To date, Transformers movies have earned over $875 million in China. 

An origin story starring Hailee Steinfeld, Bumblebee has received the same warm critical embrace in China as it did in the U.S. It has a solid 7.3/10 rating on Douban and 9.2/10 from ticketing app Maoyan (Stateside, Bumblebee has earned $97.1 million with a 97 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

The previous week's winner, Chinese dramedy Kill Mobile, slipped to second place with $12.3 million. The directorial debut of screenwriter Yu Miao, Kill Mobile is a remake of the 2016 Italian film Perfect Strangers. After two frames its total sits at $74.5 million.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent had an investment stake in Bumblebee and served as the Paramount title's official local marketing partner. Tencent's film division has gotten off to a strong start in 2019 — Kill Mobile was produced by Chinese studio New Classics Pictures, which Tencent acquired last year for $2.25 billion. 

Warner Bros. DC juggernaut Aquaman, meanwhile, is still pulling in revenue more than a month after its local opening. The blockbuster added $4.1 million in its fifth frame, taking its total to a heroic $282.9 million. The James Wan-directed hit is now Warner Bros' highest-grossing film ever in Asia, with a Japan release still to come Feb. 8. Worldwide, Aquaman has earned more than $900 million, with the $1 billion milestone looking more reachable by the day.

Sony's animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse added $2 million; the film has a cume of $59.2 million over four frames. The critically acclaimed, wildly inventive superhero title finished 2018 as Hollywood's highest-grossing animation in China.

Warner Bros.' Creed II was Hollywood's other big-ticket opening this past weekend, but the Rocky spinoff sequel punched well below its weight, taking in just $1.7 million. Ryan Coogler's first Creed film was never released theatrically in China.