China Box Office: 'Monster Hunt' Gobbles Up the Competition, Breaks More Records

Monster Hunt Still 1 - H 2015
Courtesy of Edko Films

Monster Hunt Still 1 - H 2015

The CGI/live action fantasy epic now has a cume of $221.41 million, making it the biggest Chinese film ever.

The box-office records keep tumbling in China as Monster Hunt gobbled up the competition for a second week and set a whole host of new markers for local films in the world's second-biggest movie market. 

After taking the single day, single day for IMAX, opening day and opening weekend box-office records for a Chinese film, Monster Hunt took the record for the fastest local film to pass the symbolic 1 billion RMB ($169 million) figure in domestic box office, passing that milestone in only eight days.

Given its impressive opening and widespread buzz, it was only a matter of time before Monster Hunt took the all-important title as the biggest Chinese film ever in box office revenue after its second-week gross of $113.16 million, for a monster cume of $221.41 million, according to figures from data analyst Entgroup. The film also had a huge 19.1 million admissions. 

Set in a world where monsters and humans co-exist, Monster Hunt tells the story of Wuba, a monster born to be king. Wuba becomes the central figure in stopping an all-out monster civil war.

Produced by Hong Kong's Edko Films and made for $40 million, Monster Hunt is directed by Raman Hui, who co-directed Shrek the Third, and stars an ensemble cast of Hong Kong and Chinese actors, including Jiang Wu, Eric Tsang, Elaine Jin, Tang Wei, Sandra Ng and Bai Baihe.  

Including Hollywood movies, Monster Hunt now ranks fourth in the all-time list of highest-grossing films in China, notably surpassing Avatar and in the last few days Jurassic World. The live action/CGI fantasy epic now sits behind the recently released Avengers: Age of Ultron, last year's Transformers: Age of Extinction and the top film at the Chinese box office, Furious 7, which made almost $400 million. 

Monster Hunt can expect to climb the rankings and take third spot in China's all-time list from Avengers sometime next week. 

Also in that all-time list and climbing fast is Pancake Man (Jian Bing Man), which spent a second week in second place with another hugely impressive $70.15 million for a cume of $139.52 million after 10 days on release. The superhero parody film features Jean-Claude Van Damme as a villain and is written, directed and stars Da Peng. Pancake Man had 13.32 million admissions for the week, according to Entgroup

Now the all-time 14th biggest film at the Chinese box office, Pancake Man's domestic success has emboldened the film's producers to release it in select theaters in North America, Australia and New Zealand, with an expected wider global release into August and beyond. 

In third place was another holdover from last week, animated film Monkey King: Hero Is Back, which took $32.79 million for a 17-day cume of $108.17 million. The latest take on the Monkey King legend had 5.86 million admissions.

Fourth was local romantic comedy Only You, debuting with $7.65 million and 1.45 million admissions and starring local stars Liao Fan and Tang Wei. Only You is a remake of the 1994 Hollywood film of the same name that starred Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr

Fifth was another local debutante and another animated film, Seer Movie 5: Rise of Thunder, which took $6.59 million in its opening weekend with 1.19 million admissions. 

Chinese films grabbed the top five places this week and have benefited greatly from the clear run at the box office during July because of an unofficial blackout period when big Hollywood films are put on the back burner to give domestic fare a chance to thrive.

Hollywood, or rather specialist, independent Hollywood, did find its way into sixth place with Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, taking $3.04 million on its opening weekend with just over half a million admissions. 

Seventh was Aardman Animation's Shaun the Sheep, which took another $3.01 milliion for a ten-day cume of $7.29 million. 

In the eighth spot was holdover Tiny Times 4.0, which picked up $1.76 million this week as it nears the end of its run. The fourth and final chapter in Guo Jingming's Shanghai-set adaptations of his own novels has made $77.75 million after 18 days on release.

Ninth and 10th were taken by two more local films making their debut. The Strange House made $1.63 million, and Aura Star: Attack of the Temple took $1.13 million.

Next week sees a trio of big local releases as the blackout continues with John Woo's epic 3D second part to the The Crossing, set to open on July 30, on the same day as romantic action comedy Wild City and period drama Lady of the Dynasty