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Echoing its pattern of success in Taiwan, Bollywood drama Dangal (दंगल) has come from behind to overtake Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 as the top film at the China box office.
Dangal managed to double its gross over the weekend, earning RMB229 million (US$33.2 million) from approximately 7.56 million admissions between Friday and Sunday with an amazing week-on-week increase of 294%. The film originally had a screening share of 14.7% on Friday, but it shot up to 22.1% on Saturday and 26.8% on Sunday.
Even Wanda Cinemas, which previously had only lined up limited screening slots for the film, added shows in its cinemas over the weekend. This followed a week of negative press reports about the cinema chain’s alleged boycott of the film due to Wanda’s feud with Huayi Brothers – a major stakeholder in one of Dangal’s local marketing partners.
After two weekends, Dangal has earned RMB416 million (US$60.3 million), far beyond the gross of PK, the previous record holder for the highest grossing Indian film of all time in China. The film continues to earn positive reviews among Chinese netizens, holding an average score of 9.2 out of 10 on social media site Douban.
As cinemas scrambled to give more screens to Dangal, all four new releases this past weekend failed to connect with audiences.
With a screening share of approximately 14.1%, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword earned only RMB36.1 million (US$5.24 million) from approximately 1.04 million admissions over its first three days on release. Despite the success of Pacific Rim and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in China, neither Charlie Hunnam nor Guy Ritchie are considered bankable names there.
Despite a strong screening share of 18.3% on Friday, Power Rangers also failed to attract young audiences. With an average screening share of 14.4% over the weekend, the superhero film earned only RMB24.1 million (US$3.49 million) from approximately 742,000 admissions over three days. The Power Rangers series and the original Japanese Kyoryusentai Zyuranger series were never officially aired on Chinese television.
The two new local titles didn’t fare any better. With a screening share of 12.1%, Lawrence Lau’s biopic Dealer/Healer (毒。誡) earned RMB27.8 million (US$4.04 million) from approximately 881,000 admissions over its first three days on release. Starring Lau Ching-wan, Louis Koo and Lam Ka-tung, the film traces the true story of a notorious gangster who became a respected social worker after leaving the triad.
With a screening share of approximately 8.83%, What a Wonderful Family! (麻煩家族), the Chinese remake of the Japanese comedy of the same name, opened in sixth place, earning RMB18.3 million (US$2.65 million) from approximately 581,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday. The directorial debut of actor Huang Lei, the film has made RMB26.7 million (US$3.87 million) after four days.
In second place, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 earned an additional RMB105 million (US$15.2 million) from approximately 2.74 million admissions between Friday and Sunday, representing a week-on-week drop of approximately 67%. The Marvel Studios film has earned RMB555 million (US$80.5 million) after two weekends.
Life, Leon Lai’s Wine War (搶紅) and A Monster Calls open this weekend.