The top story coming out of China is in the middle of the top ten chart. Keanu Reeves stumbled out of the gate with his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, a co-production between the state-backed China Film Group, Wanda Group, and Village Roadshow Pictures. The project combined the A-List Hollywood draw of Keanu Reeves with a Chinese narrative in Mandarin and Cantonese. It looked great on paper, suggesting the possibility of more Hollywood stars joining the fray and making films with China directed at Chinese audiences. If there's a formula to it, however, it looks like it will have to be tweaked. Man of Tai Chi flopped in China, grossing $2.85 million after three days in release and occupying fifth place in the weekly top ten chart. The film was also released in IMAX screens across the territory, with the potential of a similar roll-out around the world. After the disappointing numbers out of the gate, audiences outside of China might have to wait a while before seeing the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves.
Tiny Times was the undisputed champion once again, bringing in an additional $24.41 million to take its cumulative total to $67.67 million after eleven days. It has no guarantees to retain its top spot after the early success of Johnnie To's latest crime flick, Blind Detective. The thriller grossed $13.65 million in four days, stealing all the thunder out of Man of Tai Chi by bringing in over five times the admissions of the Keanu Reeves picture.
Man of Steel continued its strong run during its third week in release in China. The Superman reboot has grossed $58.2 million in the market over 18 days and represents about 18% of Man of Steel's $315.3 million overseas gross. This has all been accomplished in the face of strong competition from domestic films like Switch, Tiny Times, Badges of Fury, and Bind Detective -all of which have outperformed Man of Steel in different intervals of its run. Staying power pays off in China, where holdovers can prove a film's long-term success as in the case of Star Trek Into Darkness and The Croods.
Weekly Box Office Results for China.
Expectations were high coming out of the gate for Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves' directorial debut produced in collaboration between China Film Group, Village Roadshow Pictures, and Wanda Group. The film's performance over its first week in China, however, proved to be disappointing, according to a story from The Hollywood Reporter. EntGroup is reporting that Man of Tai Chi earned $2.9 million over the weekend since its Friday premiere, well behind the $137.4 million grossed by fellow new release Blind Detective. Man of Tai Chi went on to suffer steep drops in daily grosses across China, falling down to the mid-table mark of the daily top ten on Sunday.
Keanu Reeves participated in a promotional tour in several Chinese cities for the film to no avail at the box office. Man of Tai Chi was also released in IMAX screens across China, but the film simply didn't stick with audiences. Man of Tai Chi occupied 17% of the screenings in mainland China on Friday but stumbled down to 12.3% by Sunday.
John Woo begins filming The Crossing, a revolutionary China-set picture. [Variety]
Chinese filmmakers will eventually get Oscars, says past-Oscar winner. [China Daily]
Malcolm Wall has been appointed to lead the Bruno Wu-Pinewood Studios joint production and finance business. [Deadline]
A wide variety of domestic films and a few Hollywood blockbusters are set to hit Chinese theaters in August. [Film Business Asia]
The first half of 2013 sets new record high in South Korean box office. [Screen Daily]
Meanwhile, box office growth in Hong Kong continues to expand, but at a much slower rate. [Film Business Asia]
Founder and CEO of Bona Film Group Yu Dong buys stock despite slanting figures. [Hollywood Reporter]
Keanu Reeves' directing debut 'Man Of Tai Chi' launched on July 4 to the big screen and the even bigger IMAX screen. [Variety]
Tiny Times had a big weekend in China. The domestic film scored the largest opening day in the country's box office history on its way to a four-day $42.76 million total. Tiny Times doubled the weekly gross of Man of Steel's first full week of release.
Chinese films have been having more success with local audiences, tapping into a diversity of genres and paying attention to different demographics. China Daily reports that 117 of the 146 films in China screened this year have been domestic productions, with foreign ticket sales falling 26.8% in the first half of the year.
This hasn't overshadowed the performance of Hollywood hits in China. Iron Man 3 co-existed with domestic hit So Young during a blockbuster run for both films. Man of Steel survived early heat from action thriller Switch in its opening weekend and still managed to gross $21.14 million in a week dominated by Tiny Times. Tiny Times is the first of a four part series targeted at a teenage female demographic. The Chinese film nearly matched Man of Steel's China cume in four days.
Badges of Fury also took a back seat to Tiny Times, falling to third place with an $18.3 million weekly take. The biggest drop of the weekend came from Switch, coming out of its third week in release with a paltry $420k sum. Switch has earned a total of $46.82 million in China, but its nearly unanimous negative reception by critics looks to have hurt its long-term viability at the Chinese box office. China is one of those markets where a film can find legs and survive, as was the case for the record-setting performance of last year's Lost in Thailand or this year's Seeking Mr. Right.
Weekly Box Office Results for China.
Data Courtesy of EntGroup.