China Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Debuts to $30M; 'Valerian' Slides 78 Percent

Dunkirk Still 11 - Publicity - H 2017
Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Pictures

The critically acclaimed war epic opened roughly on par with past awards — favorite action-dramas from Hollywood, such as 'Gravity' and 'The Revenant.'

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk marched to an easy win at the Chinese box office over the weekend, opening to $30 million.

The critically acclaimed war epic pulled in an impressive $5.7 million from 436 IMAX screens, Nolan's second-best showing on the giant-screen format in China behind Interstellar.

Although Dunkirk's debut lagged behind Interstellar's $42.6 million opening in 2014, Warner Bros. celebrated the number as a solid showing for an artful Hollywood action-drama, noting that the opening was in range of past Oscar contenders like Gravity ($35.8 million) and The Revenant ($31 million).

Nolan has a strong following in China, where Inception and his Batman films are also known and loved. But Dunkirk's late local release, elliptical narrative techniques and focus on a faraway European battle (as opposed to WWII's Pacific theater, which remains fertile storytelling terrain in China), had led many analysts to rightly forecast a less than Interstellar opening.

Given that Spider-Man: Homecoming swoops into the market Friday, China should have a narrow chance of creeping past the United Kingdom ($66.6 million, currently) to become Dunkirk's second-largest territory behind North America ($178.8 million).

Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, meanwhile, plummeted 78 percent in its second weekend, earning $6.2 million for a fourth place finish in its second weekend. After 10 days on Chinese screens, the pricey indie sci-fi epic has totaled $58.2 million.

Japanese action-comedy Gintama opened in second place with $9.3 million. An adaptation of manga and anime series that are popular Asia-wide, the film is a rare live-action Japanese release for the China market, where political tensions have been known to limit Japanese content on local screens.

Indefatigable juggernaut Wolf Warrior II slid to third place in its sixth weekend, earning $8.7 million to bring its historic total to just shy of $850 million.