This past weekend the number one film at the domestic box office made a little over $2 million. The title? The Croods 2. It was released 12 weeks ago.
The landscape is vastly different in China. Despite restrictions on theaters of 75 percent capacity in most of the country, and at 50 percent in areas more at risk to COVID-19, this Lunar New Year holiday weekend broke records, with a tally equalling $775 million.
Of that, according to Variety, a massive $424 million (2.74 billion in Chinese yuan) went to the action-comedy Detective Chinatown 3, directed and co-written by Chen Sicheng. (Note: The Hollywood Reporter has the number a little lower, at $397 million.) Second place went to a time travel comedy Hi, Mom, written and directed by its lead actress Jia Ling.
To put that $424 million in perspective, it wallops the domestic record of opening weekends, the impressive $357 million for Avengers: Endgame. As Variety points out, Detective Chinatown 3 has earned $100 million more than Tenet‘s worldwide release in just three days, and has tripled Wonder Woman 1984‘s global take.
Detective Chinatown 3 stars Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran as two madcap police officers who have adventures in foreign lands. The first film, from 2015, brought them to Thailand, and the second, from 2018, sent the pair to New York City. The newest one takes them to Tokyo, and action star Tony Jaa makes an appearance. The film was shot with IMAX cameras, with $24 million coming from large format screenings, a highest ever in China.
In 2020, the number one worldwide box office winner, by a substantial margin, was the historical action picture The Eight Hundred, a Michael Bay-esque telling of a battle from the Second Sino-Japanese War. It’s cumulative number was $472.5 million, so likely far less than Chinatown Detective 3 when it finishes its run.
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