China Box Office: 'The Sacrifice' Opens to $53M, 'My People, My Homeland' Nears $400M

'Sacrifice' (China)
Courtesy of Max Times


China's theatrical market continued its rapid post-COVID-19 recovery while ticket sales throughout the West remained heavily depressed.

As cinemas throughout the West languish, China's box office continues to boom.

Local war epic The Sacrifice opened to $53 million over the weekend, helping to extend China's lead over North America as the biggest theatrical market of 2020, data from Artisan Gateway shows.

The film was released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, or the "War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea" as China calls it. The tentpole follows the country's recent trend of co-directed nationalistic tentpoles produced with commercial polish. Produced and distributed by state studio China Film Group, The Sacrifice was co-helmed by local hitmakers Guan Hu (The Eight Hundred), Frant Gwo (The Wandering Earth) and Lu Yang (Brotherhood of Blades). It also stars A-listers Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior), Deng Chao (The Mermaid) and Zhang Yi (Operation Red Sea), along with rising talent like Li Juixiao and Vision Wei (both from The Eight Hundred). The movie tells an action-heavy story of Chinese war heroism from three perspectives, each handled by one of the directors.

The Sacrifice's solid $53 million start was actually somewhat below most local analysts expectations, given the project's star pedigree and early buzz. Strong social scores — 9.5 from Alibaba's Taopiaopiao ticketing app, 9.4 from Maoyan and 6.5 from movie buff site Douban — still suggest a strong hold over the coming weeks, during which no other major tentpoles are yet scheduled. Maoyan forecasts the movie to finish its run at approximately $225 million (RMB 1.51 billion).

Other holdovers are slowing as October winds down. Patriotic blockbuster My Homeland, My People, in its fourth weekend, pulled in $11.2 million for a total of $388.7 million. Maoyan projects a finish around $425 million. Enlight's animated hit Legend of Deification added $2.8 million and now totals $233.3 million. Alibaba's low-budget comedy Coffee or Tea took in $2.5 million and crossed the $40 million mark. In fifth place, romantic drama The Story of Xi Bao earned $2.4 million for a total of $14.3 million after two frames.