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Chinese box office: theaters are waiting for Valentine’s Day

Mainland China’s box office slowed to a tepid $75 million nationwide over the weekend as movie theaters await new titles to replace the blockbusters that dominated the Lunar New Year holiday season in January.

The sci-fi thriller “The Wandering Earth 2” held the top spot in its second weekend, taking in $24.5 million between Friday and Sunday, according to data from consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

It was the second weekend it managed to fend off Zhang Yimou’s “Full River Red,” which earlier topped the Lunar New Year charts and is the highest-grossing film of the year. Over its most recent weekend, “Full River Red” earned $18.9 million.

Both titles were released on January 22nd. Now, “Full River Red” has a net worth of $624 million. The net worth of “The Wandering Earth 2” is $538 million.

They were followed by the Chinese animated film “Boonie Bears: Guardian Code,” which made $9 million over the weekend, for a cumulative $199 million since January 22. The animated children’s film “Deep Sea” grossed $7.9m for a cumulative £112m.

The unusual “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” premiered on Tuesday in Chinese cinemas. Over the Friday-Sunday weekend, it took in $6 million, finishing in fifth place. Six days after its release, it had a cumulative total of $12 million.

According to Artisan Gateway, the total revenue in Chinese cinemas so far this year is $1.87 billion. As the different timings of the Lunar New Year fade away, annual comparisons are starting to become more meaningful. As of February 12, the 2023 total was about 18% ahead of 2022.

Six new adult-oriented romance titles will be released on Tuesday, just in time for the Valentine’s Day celebrations on February 14, and will offer audiences a new choice for the first time in three weeks. However, its effect may be short-lived.

A handful of heavier titles will be released on Friday. Among them are Marvel’s “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Journal of the Party Secretary” and the potential winner, the sports drama “Ping-Pong of China.”


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