Chinese domestic films once again dominated the country’s box office amid an annual summer ban on Hollywood titles.
China’s government, intent on building a domestic film industry to rival Hollywood’s, typically bans imported releases during peak moviegoing periods, such as national holidays and summer vacations. The blackouts — officially called “domestic film protection periods” — have historically given a summer bump to local films.
The fantasy action film “Wu Kong” reigned at China’s box office last week for the second consecutive week, grossing $33.1 million and bringing its total to $92.5 million over 11 days, according to the film consulting firm Artisan Gateway.
Directed by Hong Kong’s Derek Kwok and starring Eddie Peng, Shawn Yue and Ni Ni, the New Classics Media-produced film features the charismatic character Sun Wukong before he became the Monkey King, a mythological Chinese figure.
Sun Wukong is a renowned character from the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West.” However, “Wu Kong” is unlikely to match Kwok’s previous huge hit, “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons,” which he co-directed with Stephen Chow. That film accumulated more than $180 million in 2013.
“Brotherhood Of Blades 2” came in a close second, opening with $26.2 million. In the five days since its release, the period martial arts film surpassed the total gross of its predecessor in 2014.
Universal/Illumination’s “Despicable Me 3” is the only Hollywood film to remain in the top five charts. It slid to third place, adding $20.8 million for a 17-day total of $135.7 million. The animated sequel has become the No. 2-grossing imported animated film ever in China behind Walt Disney Pictures’ 2016 animation “Zootopia.”
In fourth place is the Chinese film “Father and Son,” starring the well-known comedians Da Peng and Fan Wei. It debuted with $12.3 million. However, the film failed to live up to fans’ high expectations, based on the success of Da Peng’s last film, “Pancake Man,” one of the biggest hits of 2015.
Enlight Pictures’ homemade adult animation “Da Hu Fa” held on to fifth place, grossing $6 million. That brought its total to $10.9 million after 11 days.
By Gaochao Zhang
Los Angeles Times