China’s ‘The Eight Hundred’ Has Bigger Weekend Box Office Than ‘Tenet’

Chinese war film, “The Eight Hundred” was the highest scoring film in the world over the weekend.

According to data from Artisan Gateway, “The Eight Hundred” grossed $69 million between Friday and Sunday, its second weekend on release in China. That compares with the $53 million total achieved by “Tenet” in the 41 international territories where it debuted in the past days.

The Guan Hu-directed, Huayi Bros.-distributed “Eight Hundred” earned $19.5 million on Friday, topped that with $26 million on Saturday and added $24 million on Sunday. The weekend total represents a strong holdover performance, down only 11% on its opening weekend score of $79.6 million.

The spectacle continued to play well on premium large format screens. Over the weekend “The Eight Hundred” earned another $3.5m from 633 Imax screens, pushing the Imax cume to $15.6m, or 6% of the movie’s overall gross in China.

After 10 days of official release, plus bountiful previews, “The Eight Hundred” has accumulated a $277 million running total.

While “The Eight Hundred” dominated proceedings, it did not have everything its own way. Locally-made time-warping romance “Love You Forever” came in second with $9.9 million over the weekend. Earlier last week, it enjoyed a Tuesday opening designed to capture the hype of Chinese Valentine’s Day and earned a $40.1 million debut. After six days in cinemas it has a $60.5 million cumulative.

Re-released Christopher Nolan title “Inception” earned $2.95 million in third place. “Onward” made “2.03 million for a total of $5.90 million. “Little Women” earned $1.92 million over the weekend, for a China total of $4.74 million. Its international cumulative stands at $109 million and its global total is $217 million.

More than 90% of Chinese cinemas by market share are now open, although they continue to operate with capacity restrictions allowing them to sell only half their available tickets.

The weekend aggregate was $92.8 million, a fraction ahead of the $90.5 million notched up the previous weekend. Artisan Gateway calculates that year-to-date box office in China is now $828 million, still down 87% on the same date in 2019.

In the last few days, U.K.-based research firm Gower Street Analytics declared that China had become the first national box office to return to normality. The company ranks box on a scale of one to five, with stage five or normality achieved once business over a week is equivalent to the top quartile of weekly earnings from the past two years. After that point, a particular market “should react as normal, with an ebb and flow dependent on the release calendar,” Gower Street explains.

The box office in China should be set for a further shot in the arm when “Tenet” opens on Sept. 4. Local sources suggest “Tenet” is capable of a $40 million opening weekend in China.

“Mulan” has been approved for release in China but does not yet have a date. Similarly, there is no release date yet for “The New Mutants,” or “The Invisible Man” which their studios have said will have theatrical releases in China.

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