China Box Office: Dwayne Johnson's 'Skyscraper' Rakes in $48M to Place No. 1

Skyscraper - Publicity - H 2018
Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC

Dwayne Johnson's star power in China has helped to make up for the film's tepid performance in the rest of the world.

China's ongoing love affair with Dwayne Johnson continued over the weekend as Skyscraper debuted to $47.7 million, enough for a first-place finish.

The film's strong performance in the Middle Kingdom is more evidence of Johnson's position as "an old pal of the Chinese people," according to ticketing platform Maoyan.

Johnson's previous outings have done strong business in the world's second-biggest movie market: Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious are the two highest-grossing Hollywood exports ever in China, while his last vehicle, Rampage, earned $156.4 million.

While Skyscraper has a rating of 6.7/10 on Chinese review aggregator Douban, it was much better received by the Maoyan crowd, which gave the Legendary East and Universal Pictures action thriller an average score of 9.3/10, the highest rating of a Hollywood film so far in 2018, as compared with 8.9 of Avengers: Infinity War and 9.1 of Ready Player One.

On Maoyan, China's moviegoing public was pleasantly surprised by the Chinese elements in the film, which is set in Hong Kong, with some calling the action set pieces "pants-wettingly thrilling." However, there was some dissent, with some users criticizing the lack of originality found in Skyscraper, describing it as a "nouveau riche version" of the 2016 Daniel Wu starrer Sky on Fire.

Skyscraper's China performance taken together with the $27.7 million earned in other foreign markets over the weekend meant that the film was the best performing globally with $75 million this weekend and its worldwide total now at $179.6 million. However, the film is still facing a loss. 

Johnson's heroics in China have unseated homegrown social drama Dying to Survive from the box-office throne, but the latter continued its strong momentum to reach $426.7 million in its 18-day run. The Warner Bros. co-production Hidden Man, directed by hit-maker Jiang Wen, placed third with $30.9 million to a two-weekend total of $78.2 million.

The 2017 Blue Dreams Studio animation Animal Crackers, backed by Beijing Wen Hua Dongrun Investment Co. and China Film Group, took $3.8 million during its two-day opening, while the controversial children's picture Show Dogs debuted with $1.2 million over three days.