Note: US$ rate is based on exchange rate at time of writing
Transformers: The Last Knight didn’t break any box office records in China over the weekend, but there are still some good news for Paramount after it opened to a franchise low in North America.
With an astonishing 70.8% screening share for the weekend, the Michael Bay film earned RMB856 million (US$125 million) from approximately 22.8 million admissions over its first three days on release, including Thursday midnight shows. That is 81% higher than the 5-day weekend gross in North America.
The sci-fi action film opened with RMB287 million (US$42 million) on Friday, far below the RMB417 million (US$61 million) record set by The Fate of the Furious in April. However, it’s worth noting that The Last Knight had fewer screenings than Furious on its opening day despite a higher screening share. Furious, on the other hand, had a higher average occupancy rate than The Last Knight.
Nevertheless, this is the largest opening weekend for the franchise in China, surpassing RMB632 million (US$92.4 million) opening day of Age of the Extinction in 2014. That film earned a total of RMB1.98 billion (US$289 million) during its theatrical run, becoming the China box office champion at the time until it was surpassed by Fast & Furious 7, Monster Hunt (捉妖記), The Fate of the Furious, and Mermaid (美人魚).
With Transformers taking such a huge number of screenings, other films were left with single-digit screening shares for the weekend.
Dropping from a screening share of 37.7% to just 5.23% in its second weekend, Alien: Covenant took a steep dive in second place, earning an additional RMB15.1 million (US$2.21 million) between Friday and Sunday. After two weekends, the sci-fi horror film has made RMB284 million (US$41.5 million).
Herman Yau’s 77 Heartbreaks (原諒他77次) opened in third place. With a screening share of only 3.6%, the romantic drama earned RMB14.3 million (US$2.09 million) from approximately 483,000 admissions over its first three days on release. Despite the low number of screenings, the film managed an average occupancy rate of 24.8% over the weekend (versus 34% for Transformers).
The weekend’s unlikely success story was Tibetan road drama Paths of the Soul (岡仁波齊). With a average screening share of only 1.37%, the film still managed to earn RMB10.4 million (US$1.52 million) from 316,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday. Not only was it the only film that saw its revenue increase consistently over the weekend, it also maintained an average occupancy rate of 37.3%, the highest in the top ten.
Directed by Zhang Yang, Paths of the Soul follows a group of ordinary villagers on a pilgrimage to Lhasa.
With a screening share of 3.33%, Lion earned RMB9.76 million (US$1.43 million) from 239,000 admissions over its first three days on release. Local action thriller Stranger (緝槍) earned only RMB5.09 million (US$744,000) over three days with a screening share of 2.33%.
Ann Hui’s Our Time Will Come (明月幾時有), Chang’s Reset (逆時營救), Jeff Lau’s Soccer Killer (仙球大戰) open this weekend.