China Box Office: ‘Endless Journey’ Opens on Top

China Box Office: ‘Endless Journey’ Opens on Top

Chinese-made crime drama, “Endless Journey” opened on top of the mainland China box office on a weekend with three new releases in the top five.

The Wanda Pictures and Alibaba title earned $20.5 million (RMB146 million) between Friday and Sunday, its official opening weekend, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. Together with previews from the week earlier, it ended the weekend with a cumulative total of $34.5 million (RMB245 million).

Despite being released only in one territory, “Endless Journey” was the world’s second highest performing film over the weekend, according to calculations by another box office tracking firm ComScore. “Wonka,” which has already fallen out of the top ranks in China, was the global number one with an estimated $53.6 million in international territories and a $39 million debut weekend in North America.

Adapted from a book “Please Tell the Director, the Mission of the Third Brigade Has Been Completed” by Shenlan, and apparently based on real events, the film recounts how a disgraced former detective hunts down criminals as a private citizen.

“Wolf Project,” another crime action film, opened in second place with $11.2 million earned from only two days in theaters. Its official release had previously been advertised as Dec. 22, but last minute advances in release dates do occur in China, especially when a distributor perceives that competing titles are weak or underperforming. The Nick Cheung-starring picture comes from the Hengye stable and is backed by streamer iQiyi.

Third place was taken by Japanese animation “Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine.” It too only got a Saturday release, but managed a $10.2 million total.

Imax reports that “Endless Journey” and “Detective Conan” shared its China circuit, earning $2 million and $700,000 of their respective scores on its screens.

“Love Life Light,” released by Enlight Pictures, took $6.5 million in its second weekend, down from $10.1 million in its opening session. Its cumulative score now totals $26.8 million.

“The Invisible Guest,” which headed the chart a week earlier, slipped to fifth place, earning just $2.1 million. After ten days on release, it has a cumulative of $22.1 million. The film is another crime-related titles and is a Chinese remake of 2016 Spanish mystery thriller. The remake is backed by iQiyi and is directed by Chen Zhuo.

Luc Besson’s “Dogman” was another new release over the weekend. But it failed to make the top five, despite in-person promotion by the director in recent weeks. Local sources report the film’s cumulative as some $750,000 after three days on release.

Artisan Gateway reports the Chinese box office’s year to date total as $7.40 billion. That is an 82% rebound from a shoddy 2022, but still some 15% behind 2019’s comparable figure.

The flood of new releases for the Christmas-calendar New Year period means that a year-end surge is possible. Key titles include “Goldfinger,” with top Hong Kong stars Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu-wai, and “Aquaman 2.” The end of year line-up was swelled by the addition of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which in recent days was given a Dec. 31 release.