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China Box Office: ‘Lost in the Stars’ Is Weekend’s Top Film Worldwide

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China Box Office: ‘Lost in the Stars’ Is Weekend’s Top Film Worldwide

China Box Office: ‘Lost in the Stars’ Is Weekend’s Top Film Worldwide With $98 Million Debut

Chinese mystery drama “Lost in the Stars” was the top-grossing film on the planet over the latest weekend – despite playing only a single territory.

The film earned $70.7 million (RMB502 million) between Friday and Sunday in mainland China, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. That put it far and away ahead of other Chinese new releases and Hollywood’s holdovers “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” and “The Flash.”

With the Dragon Boat Festival holiday occurring on Thursday, the film was given an unusual one-day advance on the normal releasing pattern in China. Including Thursday takings, the film made a total of $98.3 million (RMB968 million).

Data from Comscore shows “Lost in the Stars” handily beating second-placed “Elemental,” which earned $49.8 million between Friday and Sunday ($31.3 million in 40 international markets and $18.5 million in North America).

“Lost in the Stars” is a Chinese adaptation of a 1990 Russian movie “A Trap for the Lonely Man,” which itself was adapted from a Robert Thomas stage play. It sees a woman disappear while on an overseas trip with her husband. Just as mysteriously, she reappears at the moment that the search for her is running out of steam. But the man refuses to accept that she is the same woman and believes that she is an imposter.

The Chinese adaptation was scripted by hitmaker Chen Sicheng (“Detective Chinatown” franchise) and co-directed by Liu Xiang (“Knock Knock”) and Cui Rui. The cast is headed by Zhu Yilong, Ni Ni, Janice Man and Du Jiang.

Chinese romance film “Love Never Ends” was given a five-day opening run and placed second. Over the Friday-Sunday weekend, it earned $11.8 million (RMB83.7 million) according to Artisan Gateway. Over five days, it earned $23.7 million.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” slipped from second place to third. It earned $8.3 million for a three-weekend total of $79 million (RMB561 million).

“Never Say Never,” written and directed by actor Wang Baoqiang (“Lost in Thailand,” “Detective Chinatown””) does not officially release in China until July 6. Nevertheless, its previews were strong enough to earn it $6.3 million (RMB44.5 million) and take fourth place over the weekend. Earnings to date add up to $9.4 million.

“The Flash” shot rapidly downwards, falling from first place on its opening weekend to fifth place in its second session. It grossed $3.4 million between Friday and Sunday, for a ten-day cumulative of $23.7 million.
China’s huge park of Imax screens played three of the top five titles. “Lost in the Stars” earned $1.5M of its total on the circuit. “The Flash” earned $670,000. “Transformers: Rise of the beasts” earned $1 million.

Nationwide, China’s box office haul was $111 million over the weekend. That lifts the year-to-date total to $3.52 billion. Artisan Gateway calculates that as 50% ahead of the same point last year, but 18% behind 2019.

China Box Office: ‘Never Say Never’ Takes Top Spot as Local Films Dominate Weekend

Local titles dominated at the mainland Chinese cinema box office over the latest weekend. “Never Say Never” overtook the previous sensation “Lost in the Stars” to lead another strong summer session.

“Never Say Never” (aka “Octagonal”) released officially on Thursday, ahead of China’s more normal Friday system. It earned $55.3 million (RMB384 million) between Friday and Sunday, according to verified data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. To that can be added some $9.6 million from Thursday and over $60 million previews and the film finished Sunday with a cumulative of $121 million.

Co-written and directed by actor Wang Baoqiang (“Lost in Thailand,” “Detective Chinatown”), the film tells a tale of a man who tries to teach orphans about martial arts. But he is publicly shamed after his efforts are misinterpreted.
According to local sources, however, “Lost in the Stars” was the top-scoring film on both Thursday and Friday, before “Never Say Never” dominated with Saturday and Sunday crowd.

“Lost in the Stars” earned a further $44.1 million (RMB318 million) between Friday and Sunday for a cumulative of $428 million after 18 days in Chinese cinemas.

Lightchaser animation “Chang An” got its official release only on Saturday, but nevertheless placed third in the weekend chart with $24.8 million (RMB178 million) from just two days of business. Including last week’s previews, the film now has a cumulative of $27.8 million (RMB200 million).

Hong Kong-produced action franchise film “The White Storm: Heaven or Hell” opened on Thursday. Over three days, it earned $17.9 million (RMB129 million). Over four days it earned $24.4 million.

Alpha Pictures’ “Super Wings: Jett Run,” a Chinese-made movie adaptation of a Korean kids’ animation series opened on Saturday and placed fifth over the weekend with $4.8 million.

The latest weekend saw aggregate nationwide box office of $152 million. Artisan Gateway calculates that is some 61% ahead of last year’s score at the same time of year, and only 11% behind the same point in 2019.

According to local data sources, the top-ranked Hollywood film in China over the last weekend was “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.” It earned close to $500,000 for a 31-day cumulative of $95.0 million.

The “Super Wings” property provides an interesting footnote to the geopolitical controversies that dog the film industry in East Asia.

Currently, the most prominent dispute is over films depicting maps of Asia. Upcoming Hollywood release “Barbie” has been banned in Vietnam for showing a map that depicts China’s disputed claims that much of the South China Sea is its territory.
Chinese state media reports that in 2021, China banned the Korean-made “Super Wings” series from screening on TV and streaming channels due to its inclusion of a map that omitted Tibet and showed Taiwan as a separate country from the People’s Republic of China. China used military force in 1950 to take control of Tibet. China also claims that Taiwan is a rebel force with which it will be united – by force if necessary.

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According to Chinese state media, “Super Wings” got other piece of history wrong, by describing the Mid-Autumn Festival as Korean in origin. Chinese authorities say that the holiday originated in China and was later adopted in the Korean peninsula.

Korean-produced movies have not been allowed to be imported into China since early 2016, due to another geopolitical dispute.

China banned Korean movies in retaliation for the Korean government’s decision to allow the installation of the U.S.-backed THAAD missile defense system on its territory. And, while there have been public statements about rapprochement and the restart of Korean content imports, these have been at a low level in TV and close to zero in film. For several years now, Chinese companies have preferred to buy or license Korean IP and remake it as a Chinese product.

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