“The Battle at Lake Changjin” became the fourth most successful film in the world this year as it maintained its grip on the China box office for a second weekend.
Even as the National Day holiday season wound to an end, “Changjin” scored $109 million over the weekend according to data from Artisan Gateway. That gave it a cumulative total of $633 million, earned since Sept. 30.
Second placed film over the weekend, “My Country, My Parents” earned $19.6 million. Its cumulative was extended to $182 million.
The score for “Changjin” puts it ahead of far ahead of “The Legend of Shang-Chi” which stood on $402 million worldwide prior to the latest weekend, according to data from Box Office Mojo, and the $468 million worldwide total earned by “Godzilla Vs. Kong.”
The only 2021 titles outscoring “Changjin” in the global rankings are “Hi, Mom” with $822 million, “F9” with $717 million and “Detective Chinatown 3” with $686 million.
The film about Chinese heroics during the early days of the Korean War benefited significantly from the so-called Golden Week seven-day holiday period that follows China’s annual Oct. 1 celebrations. But the weekend-to-weekend comparison shows 48% drop that is still in the range of normal second frame performances.
Day-by-day figures from China Box Office show that grosses tumbled to $25.6 million on Friday (Oct. 8) when many folks had to return to work, compared to $60.7 million on Thursday, the last day of official holiday. But the numbers rebounded over the weekend proper. Saturday saw “Changjin” score $36.8 million and Sunday a further $46.6 million.
Within the weekend total, “Changjin” earned $4.6m from Imax giant screens. With an Imax cumulative of $30.4, it is now the fourth highest grossing local language title of all time for Imax.
Chinese online ticketing agency Maoyan has increased its forecast of the film’s lifetime score. It is now predicting that “Changjin” will finish its run with RMB5.34 billion ($824 million). That would put it third in China’s all-time rankings, short of Chinese New Year blockbuster “Hi, Mom” which scored an unexpected RMB5.41 billion earlier this year and 2017 record breaker “Wolf Warrior 2” with RMB5.68 billion.
China’s overall box office haul over the weekend was worth $133 million, according to Artisan Gateway. That lifted the 2021 running total to $6.175 billion.
The strong weekend reduced the annual deficit compared with pre-pandemic 2019 to 24%, down from 27% at the end of September. That may be a boon for China’s cinema operators, but normality has not been fully restored in China. The country’s box office is increasingly weighted to blockbuster titles and holiday seasonality.
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