China Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible', 'Minions' Break Records in Big Week for Hollywood

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Still 5 - H 2015
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Local smash hit 'Monster Hunt' also became the highest grossing film ever in the world's second largest movie market.

After a dubious defeat to a state-backed propaganda movie last week, Hollywood has returned to the Chinese box office in a huge way.

Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation got off to a record-breaking start on Tuesday (Sept. 8), opening to $15.5 million, a new all-time high for an imported 2D film in the world's second largest film market. The Paramount and Skydance title continued to muscle its way through the week, grossing a massive $86.4 million in just six days, lifting the film's international total to $424.8 million and worldwide haul to $613 million.

Cruise put in a three-city tour across China to drum up excitement for the movie. Its success is also a big win for China's Alibaba Pictures Group (APG), the movie subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba. APG boarded Rogue Nation as Paramount's "official promotional partner in China," spending two months leveraging the parent company's massive online user base and launching targeted promotions, games and MI merchandise.

But Rouge Nation wasn't all alone at the top. Universal and Illumination Entertainment's pesky Minions arrived in China Sunday (Sept.13) to claim a box office record of its own. The film opened to $20.1 million, the biggest single-day launch ever for an animated film in the country, bumping Rouge Nation to second for the day (it grossed $13.8 million). Minions has now surpassed Toy Story 3 ($1.07 billion) to become the No. 2 animated film of all time at the worldwide box office, behind only Frozen ($1.28 billion), not accounting for inflation.

The rest of the field trailed far behind the Hollywood leaders. In third, Bona Film Group's local crime thriller The Dead End grossed another $4.84 million, according to data for Beijing-based Entgroup, bringing its 18-day cume to $46.75 million.

Terminator: Genisys, exhausted from its dystopian showdown with the Chinese state propaganda apparatus, fell to fourth place, adding $4.17 million to its $113.24 million China total after 18 days.

Local blockbuster Monster Hunt, still in cinemas after 60 days on release, came in fifth for the week with just $2.8 million. But that modest late-release return was enough to push Furious 7 from the top of China's all-time box office rankings, making Monster Hunt the highest grossing film ever in China with $382 million (at today's exchange rate).

Meanwhile, the state-backed World War II propaganda picture The Hundred Regiments Offensive fell precipitously from first place to sixth for the week, adding just $1.37 million to its $62.32 million. As THR reported, top Chinese film executives and cinema managers have accused the government of creating a distribution scheme that encouraged box office fraud to boost the patriotic movie's performance during its opening week.

Johnny To's musical comedy Office, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and stars Chow Yun-Fat, Eason Chan and Tang Wei, grossed just $630,000 for seventh place. Its cumulative gross after 12 days is $7.4 million.

Landing in eighth, Thierry Ragobert's 3D creature film Amazonia pulled in $600,000 for a $2.4 million cume, while Wanda Picture's romantic comedy Go Away Mr. Tumor grossed $590,000 for ninth place, taking its cume to $80.12 million

At the bottom of the charts, Hong Kong's once iconic Golden Harvest banner brought out Fly Me to Venus, its revival of the fantasy franchise Fly Me to Polaris (1999), which grossed $580,000 after three days.