The Biggest Movies at the Box Office In China So Far in 2016
1. The Mermaid – $526.8 Million
Hong Kong action-comedy legend Stephen Chow demonstrated just how huge the Chinese movie market already is with this eco-acquatic comedy romp about a mermaid sent to land to assassinate a greedy real estate developer. Released over the Chinese New Year, the movie smashed Monster Hunt’s prior record ($381.8 million) to become the biggest ever in China.
2. Zootopia – $235.5 million
2016 has been the year that animation really came to the fore in China. Disney’s Zootopia has lead the way. The movie actually grossed more in its second weekend than during its opening, as effusive word of mouth spread across Chinese social media. With a sky-high 8.6/10 viewer rating on leading Chinese movie site Mtime, it appears to be the most liked film of the year so far among Chinese moviegoers.
3. Warcraft – $220.8 million
After Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group bought U.S. studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January, all eyes were on Warcraft, the company’s first release since the acquisition. The Duncan Jones-directed videogame adaptation did not disappoint — in China at least. After flopping in the United States with just $45.9 million, the film pulled in nearly five times more in China, where it was boosted by an elaborate marketing campaign and some powerful local allies.
4. Captain America: Civil War – $190.4 million
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo continued their winning streak in China with their latest Marvel juggernaut, Captain America: Civil War. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a fixture of the Chinese box office’s boom period. The Russos recently even launched their own Chinese film studio, which plans to back a Chinese superhero project not dissimilar to their work with Marvel.
5. The Monkey King 2 – $185.4 million
The Monkey King 2’s sizable blockbuster haul was all the more impressive given that the movie opened in direct competition with Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid. Based on the oft-adaptated classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, this installment featured Aaron Kwok as the titular Monkey King.
6. From Vegas to Macau 3 – $172.1 million
Greater China’s most charming movie star, Chow Yun-fat — basically the George Clooney of Hong Kong cinema — returned for the third installment in this comedy gambling caper franchise. Opening opposite The Mermaid and Monkey King 2 over Chinese New Year, the movie still earned just under $175 million.
7. Kung Fu Panda 3 – $154.3 million
The first feature from DreamWorks Animation’s much hyped Shanghai-based joint venture studio, Oriental DreamWorks, the latest installment in the adventures of Po the panda was animated in two complete versions, one for the Chinese market and one in English. The experiment mostly paid off, with the movie doing big business despite what turned out to be an awkward release date.
8. The Jungle Book – $150.1 million
Continuing Disney’s hot streak in China this year, Jon Favreau’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic was a hit with China’s CG-loving filmgoers.
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $124.2 million
Yes, that’s right: Star Wars was a bomb in China. Although the film earned a record $1 billion in the United States, the Star Wars franchise remains a relatively unknown force in China, where there is little of the nostalgia factor that fueled the film elsewhere.
10. X-Men: Apocalypse – $120.8 million
Bryan Singer’s most recent X-Men movie narrowly edged past its predecessor at the Chinese box office. Apocalypse earned $120.8 million compared to X-Men: Days of Future Past’s $116.5 million total in 2014. The movie gave a boost to an otherwise slow spring and early summer at Chinese cinemas.
Check back in February 2017 to find out what the real Top 10 grossing movies of 2016 were at the Chinese movie box office.
For comparison sake, as of July 10, 2016, The Top 10 movies at the U.S. movie box office are:
1 Finding Dory $422,580,243
2 Captain America: Civil War $406,243,164
3 Deadpool $363,070,709 3,856 $132,434,639
4 The Jungle Book (2016) $360,175,883
5 Zootopia $340,987,247
6 Batman v Superman $330,360,194
7 X-Men: Apocalypse $154,479,477
8 Kung Fu Panda 3 $143,497,630
9 Central Intelligence $108,325,338
10 The Angry Birds Movie $105,936,416
tie The Secret Life of Pets $105,000,000 (on its way to the #3 spot of 2016)
Curiously, The Mermaid, the #1 movie of 2016 at the Chinese box office, was released in the United States in February 2016 and took in just under $3.5 million.