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Local comedy Never Say Die (羞羞的鐵拳) is taking a major early lead in the first days of China’s eight-day National Day holiday.
Co-produced by theater company Happy Twist – who was also behind mega-hit Good Bye Mr. Loser (夏洛特煩惱) – the comedy opened on Saturday (the last working day before the start of the holiday) and earned a very strong RMB309 million (US$46.4 million) from 9.31 million admissions over its first two days on release. If it continues to hold its average screening share of 29.7%, it will easily win the holiday period.
Directed by Song Yang and Zhang Chiyu, the film stars Allen as a boxer who magically switches bodies with a sports reporter, played by Mary Ma. Her Goodbye Mr. Loser co-star Shen Teng is also in the film as a martial arts master.
In a distant second is Martin Campbell’s The Foreigner (英倫對決), starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. With a screening share of 22.3%, the action drama also opened on Saturday and earned RMB146 million (US$22 million) from 4.01 million admissions over its first two days on release. Released locally in 3-D, the film is distributed locally by Wanda’s Wuzhou Film Distribution, Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media, and Shanghai Tao Piao Piao Entertainment (a subsidiary of Alibaba Pictures).
The film is expected to roll out around the rest of the world starting next weekend.
Wong Jing and Jason Kwan’s Chasing The Dragon (追龍) is currently in third place. With a screening share of 13.8%, the crime drama earned RMB94.6 million (US$14.2 million) from 2.95 million admissions over its first two days on release.
Very loosely inspired by the stories of 1970s Hong Kong drug kingpin Ng Sek-ho (played by Donnie Yen here) and corrupted cop Lui Lok (played by Andy Lau, who played the same character in the two-part Lee Rock 五億探長雷洛傳 films that Wong also produced in 1991), Chasing The Dragon is distributed locally by Bona Media and Huaxia Films.
Opening one day early on Friday, Sky Hunter (空天獵) didn’t enjoy the head start that it was hoping for. With a screening share of 14.4%, the directorial debut of actor Li Chen earned RMB86.6 million (US$13 million) from 2.68 million admissions over its first three days on release. The military action thriller, co-starring Lee and his fiancee Fan Bingbing, was produced with the assistance of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
City of Rock (縫紉機樂隊), comedian Da Peng’s follow-up to Jian Bing Man (煎餅俠), has been the biggest victim of the intense competition so far. On Friday, the film earned only RMB37.7 million (US$5.66 million) even with a 36.9% screening share. Shows were drastically cut the next day, giving the film only a 7.8% screening share for the rest of the weekend. After three days on release, the Enlight release has made RMB78.5 million (US$11.8 million) from 2.31 million admissions.
Depending on word-of-mouth, City of Rock still has a chance to beat Sky Hunter for fourth place.
Last year, I Belonged To You (從你的全世界路過) and Guo Jingming’s L.O.R.D. (爵跡) took the lead early in the National Day holiday period. However, word-of-mouth hurt both films, and Operation Mekong (湄公河行動) ended up coming from behind to become the top grossing film of the holiday. However, with positive reviews on Douban so far, it’s unlikely that Never Say Die will lose its current lead.
There’s no major new release in China until next Friday, October 13th.