China Box Office: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ Stays on Top Despite Local Challenge

DreamWorks Animation
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"

DreamWorks Animation's trainee dragons hold their own against a kung fu competitor

Dragons are considered benevolent and auspicious creatures in China, something DreamWorks Animation has learned as How to Train Your Dragon 2 breathed fire in the world’s second-biggest box-office market last week, taking $24.12 million in its first full week to bring its total gross in the country to $50.92 million.

After 11 days, the movie notched up 167,516 screenings and 3.97 million admissions during the week that ended Aug. 24, data from research group Entgroup showed.

The movie’s success comes as DreamWorks Animation is making major efforts to build its business in China, including a $2.4 billion entertainment complex in Shanghai, and producing Kung Fu Panda 3 with Chinese partners.

How to Train Your Dragon 2, directed by Dean DeBlois and released by Fox, is already the year’s highest-grossing animated film internationally.

Second place at the Chinese box office went to Gordon Chan’s kung fu epic The Four 3, which took $16.33 million in its opening three days from 98,133 screenings and 2.74 million admissions.

The Hong Kong director’s film stars Chao DengLiu Yifei,  Ronald Cheng, Collin Chou and Anthony Wong.

Behind that was Temporary Family, which earned $8.55 million in its opening four days. Cheuk Wan-chi’s Hong Kong real estate drama stars Nick Cheung Ka-fai, Sammi Cheng Sau-man and Angelababy.

Moving up to fourth place was Pegasus Motion Pictures' $8 million Z Storm, produced by John Chong and directed by David Lam. Z Storm tells the story of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption’s battle against criminals, and dovetails nicely with a nationwide anti-graft campaign in Mainland China. Z Storm took $7.57 million in its first full week for a cume of $13.1 million.

In sixth place was the live-action martial arts epic Brotherhood of Blades, directed by Lu Yang and featuring Cecilia Liu and Chang Chen, taking $2.09 million for a gross of $14.19 million after 18 days in release.

Behind that was the German animated Tarzan, which cashed in $2 million in its opening weekend, followed by the France-Belgium coproduction animated film Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants with $1.75 million in three days.

Pompeii, directed by Resident Evil’s Paul W.S. Anderson, took $6.9 million for a cume of $13.8 million for the volcano movie featuring Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) and Emily Browning (Sucker Punch).

Chinese production Snow White: The Power of Dwarves took $1.53 million after four days, while Luc Besson’s Brick Mansions, one of the last roles for Paul Walker, was still in the top 10, taking another $1.5 million for a cume of $29.84 million after 24 days as its China performance reflected the movie’s strong international performance.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan