China Box Office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Wins Weekend as 'Breakup Buddies' Stays on Top


China's appetite for Marvel superheroes remains voracious

Ning Hao's risqué road-trip comedy Breakup Buddies held its own atop the Chinese box office charts last week, taking nearly $49 million, but Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy won the weekend in the world's second biggest film market.

After 13 days on release, Breakup Buddies has notched up a cume of $151.32 million. During the week there were 8.72 million admissions and 266,207 screenings, according to calculations by research outfit Entgroup for the week ending Oct. 12.

A tale of a recently divorced man and his best friend who set off on a series of misadventures, Breakup Buddies is on track to breach the crucial billion-yuan ($160 million) threshold in coming days.

However, Guardians powered ahead in its opening weekend. The Disney movie, which is only screening in 3D in China, took $30.07 million, according to Entgroup, in its first three days on screen, with 125,953 screenings and 4.71 million admissions. That's nearly 40 percent of all screenings here.

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Over the weekend, Breakup Buddies took just over $16 million.

It's the latest muscular performance by a Marvel superhero in China, in a year that saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier take nearly $118 million here.

These numbers are all the more impressive given Guardians was released the weekend after a public holiday, normally a tough time for movies because schools are back in session and people are returning to work.

U.S. data put Guardians at $28 million from 23 markets, with $26.6 million coming from China, for the top October opening of all time for a Hollywood title.

In third place, Hong Kong director Peter Ho-sun Chan's Dearest, a child kidnapping drama based on a true story, continued its strong run, adding another $11.65 million for a cume of $47.50 million after 18 days on release.

Dearest had 97,162 screenings and marked up 2.13 million admissions. It features Zhao Wei, Tong Dawei, Huang Bo and Hao Lei.

Behind that was the Taiwanese cop actioner Black & White: The Dawn of Justice, which took $9.65 million for a total of $30.47 million after its first full week in Chinese cinemas.

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Hong Kong director Ann Hui's historical epic The Golden Era was in fifth, earning another $2.58 million in its first full week for a cume of $7.17 million. The Golden Era (Huang jin shi dai) features Tang Wei and is set against the backdrop of 1930s China.

Behind that was the domestic horror movie Bugs, which took $1.97 million in its opening weekend, followed in seventh place by the latest episode in the McDull animated pig franchise, McDull: Me & My Mom, which notched up another $1.90 million for a cume of $6.6 million.

The sci-fi animated feature Armor Hero Atlas, directed by Zheng Guowei, was behind that, taking $1.85 million for a total of $6.29 million, followed by Kuiba III, which earned $790,000 for a cume of $3.77 million.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the Beijing city government has announced an extra six-day public holiday mark to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in the capital next month.

It's not clear what this means for the release of big Hollywood tentpoles during the period — titles set to open before year-end include The Maze Runner, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hercules but it should mean a boost for cinemagoing generally.

Major Chinese titles coming up before year-end include Jiang Wen's 3D epic Gone With the Bullets, a sequel to 2010's wildly successful Let the Bullets Fly, which is due to open in early December; John Woo's romantic epic The Crossing; and Tsui Hark’s 3D epic The Taking of Tiger Mountain.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan