China Box Office: Tsui Hark's 'Young Detective Dee' Dominates

Courtesy EMP
"Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon"

The fantasy prequel has racked up nearly $90 million in China so far and is leaving Hollywood releases trailing.

Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon dominated the Chinese box office for a second straight week, with the fantasy epic taking $16.84 million (102.7 million yuan) in the seven days leading up to Oct. 13.

In 16 days on release, the prequel to Har's fantasy epic Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame has notched up nearly $90 million, and has left Hollywood's offerings trailing in its wake, according to data from Beijing-based research outfit Entgroup.

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The tale of young detective, Dee, a 7th century Tang Dynasty provincial magistrate who channels Sherlock Holmes and Bruce Lee, retools the earlier movie and features Mark Chao in the Dee role played by Andy Lau in the 2010 movie.

The Entgroup data shows that the total mainland Chinese box office gross was $50.82 million (310 million yuan), down 51 percent on the previous week, which was a holiday week, but up a hefty 47 percent on the previous year. There were 8.68 million moviegoers during the week.

The movie, which was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, will certainly have benefited from a strong showing in Imax theaters in the burgeoning expanded format market in China.

Now You See Me took in $9.85 million (60.07 million yuan) in its first four days on release, making it the best performing new movie of the week, while The Lone Ranger took $6 million (36.6 million yuan), bringing its total in nine days to nearly $12 million.

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The biggest Chinese debut of the week was Love Will Tear Us Apart, which took in $5.23 million (31.89 million yuan) and features martial arts specialist Feng Shaofeng and Ni Ni, best known internationally for her role in Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War.

Danny and Oxide Pang's Out of Inferno 3D took another $5 million during the week, bringing its total to almost $20 million during its two-week run.

The speedy snail tale Turbo took in $1.12 million, bringing its cumulative total to $18.14 million over its 26-day run.

This week witnesses an interesting head-to-head matchup, as James Mangold's The Wolverine, which opened this week with a premiere in Beijing attended by Hugh Jackman, takes on the Donnie Yen action movie Special ID, a Shenzhen-set cop movie that crosses all martial arts codes to include Thai boxing, judo and karate, which opens on Oct. 18.