China Box Office: Record Weekend for Local Films as 'Monster Hunt', 'Pancake Man' Open Big

Courtesy of Edko Films
'Monster Hunt'

Saturday's $64.4 million in ticket sales was the biggest single-day take in Chinese box-office history.

Huge opening weekends for domestic films Monster Hunt and Pancake Man led to several records being broken at the Chinese box office this past week.

Data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) released on Sunday showed that Saturday saw the biggest single-day take ever at the box office, with $64.4 million in revenue. July 18 surpassed the previous best single day take of $61.67 million, made on April 12 when Furious 7 opened in Chinese theaters.

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 Hollywood films are put on the back burner to give domestic fare a chance to thrive.

Monster Hunt came out on top on a memorable weekend for local fare, grabbing $107.02 million after only four days on release, according to data from Entgroup. The $40 million movie was a big hit with Chinese moviegoers, with a staggering 17.93 million admissions since last Thursday.

The 3D film, which mixes live action with CGI, also set records for the biggest opening-day gross ($26.45 million) and biggest single-day gross ($29.84 million) for a Chinese film, vaulting the marks set by The Monkey King in 2014. Monster Hunt also grabbed $8.7 million from Imax screens, yet another record.

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, 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.  

In second place was Pancake Man (Jian Bing Man) with an equally impressive $69.02 million after three 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 13.21 million admissions, according to Entgroup. 

Animated film Monkey King: Hero Is Back took the third spot with $59.71 million for a 10-day cume of $75.12 million. The latest take on the Monkey King legend had 10.46 million admissions. 

Fourth place was claimed by Forever Young, first-time director He Jiong's coming-of-age drama, which grabbed a further $18.13 million this week for a 10-day cume of $59.75 million. Based on Jiong's hit 2004 song of the same name, Forever Young has had a mixed response from critics in China but continues to prove popular with audiences. Forever Young had 3.6 million admissions. 

Last week's number one film, Tiny Times 4.0, dropped to fifth place with a take of $17.74 million. The fourth and final chapter in Guo Jingming's Shanghai-set adaptations of his own novels has made $76.30 million after 11 days on release and had 3.51 million admissions. 

Aardman Animation's Shaun the Sheep brroke the local hold on the top ten, coming in at number six with $4.27 million on its opening weekend. Farewell, My Concubine director Chen Kaige's martial arts movie Monk Comes Down the Mountain added another $3.5 million to come in seventh and now has a cume of $64.26 million after 18 days. 

In eighth place was animated flick GG Bond Movie: Ultimate Battle with another $2.28 million for a 10-day cume of $7.08 million, followed by holdover SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, which took another $350,000 for a 32-day cume of $90.27 million but looks likely to fall short of the $100 million mark. 

Finally, Begin Again, the Hollywood rom-com starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley, took the tenth spot with $280,000 this week for a 24-day cume of $3.22 million.  

No major Hollywood titles are expected until the end of July, when Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Minions and Inside Out are expected, followed by Fantastic Four in August.