Makoto Shinkai’s Japanese anime sensation Suzume held strong at the top of China’s box office over the weekend, earning $22.1 million while easily defeating Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Sony’s 65which both flopped.
Suzume has earned $80.6 million in China, better than any other international film released in the country this year, including US superhero tentpoles like Ant-Man 3 ($39 million), according to box-office tracker Artisan Gateway. The film is forecast to bring in over $90 million, which will make it the most commercially successful Japanese anime in China of all time.
Suzume also has earned just shy of $30 million in South Korea and $105 million in Japan. It opens in North America and most of Europe on April 14, providing the latest bellwether for anime’s growing theatrical potential in the West.
Dungeons & Dragons and 65‘s disappointing results continue a streak of poor ticket sales by the Hollywood studios in China. Dungeons & Dragons debuted fourth place to $5 million and 65 took only $600,000 (the films’ US openings were $30 million and $12.5 million, respectively). As in the US, Dungeons & Dragons has been well received by Chinese critics and filmgoers, scoring 9.2/10 from leading ticketing service Maoyan. The poor sales performance will add to mounting business concerns about the Chinese audience’s shrinking interest in US entertainment content.
Hachiko, a Chinese telling of the popular Japanese story of a professor’s loyal dog, opened in second place with $8.9 million. The film is produced by Chinese streamer iQiyi. Local comedy drama Post Truth came in third place for the frame, adding $6.4 million for a $85.5 million cumulative total over three weekends.
This week delivers a flurry of international film releases to China. James Cameron’s Titanic 3D is relaunching in the country Monday. The love for Cameron’s romantic disaster epic is profound in China and analysts are expecting $10 million-plus in sales for the rerelease. Tuesday brings a rerelease of vintage anime Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Streetwhich opened in Japan back in 2002, followed by Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Wednesday. On Friday, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s disaster drama Notre-Dame On Fire opens opposite Japanese rock opera anime Inu-ohdirected by Masaaki Yuasa, as well as several mid-budget Chinese releases.
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