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China Box Office: ‘Hi, Mom,’ ‘Detective Chinatown 3’ Both Soar Past $600M

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(THR) Chinese blockbusters Hi, Mom and Detective Chinatown 3 both sailed past the $600 million mark during their second weekend in cinemas — an unprecedented feat for two films competing head-to-head in a single market.

Heartwarming comedy Hi, Mom, produced by Beijing Culture, has emerged as China’s 2021 Lunar New Year champion despite beginning the holiday in distant second behind Wanda Pictures’ comedy franchise hit Detective Chinatown 3. Although DC3 had powerful franchise appeal and vastly more marketing buzz going into the holiday, Hi, Mom captured the hearts of Chinese moviegoers and became a viral phenomenon, consistently generating the highest social scores on ticketing apps and movie reviews sites.

Hi, Mom won the second weekend with sales totaling $134.2 million, a 17 percent decline from its opening three days, when DC3 was dominating screen share. DC3 added $45.3 million this past weekend, an 89 percent slide from its record-breaking opening of $397.2 million. Ten days into release, Hi, Mom’s cumulative total is $619.4 million, a squeak more than DC3 with $619.2 million, according to estimates from regional box-office tracker Artisan Gateway.

In Imax, DC3 reached $33 million, becoming the third highest-grossing local-language title ever in the giant screen format.

Directed, written by and starring Chinese comedy veteran Jia Ling, Hi, Mom tells the story of a woman whose world is turned upside-down by the death of her mother. Grief stricken, she magically transports back in time to meet a younger version of her mom, attempting to improve her mom’s life using insights from the future. The film is based on memories of Jia’s real-life mother, who passed away in the director’s teenage years.

In third place during the second weekend of the holiday was Huace’s fantasy action film A Writer’s Odyssey, which earned a further $20.2 million to lift its cume to $112 million. Andy Lau’s well-reviewed thriller Endgame climbed to fourth place with $14.7 million for a $42.3 million running total. Scoring fifth was kids animation installment Bonnie Bears: The Wild Life with $10 million and $77.4 million in total.

Lightchaser Animation’s New Gods: Nezha Reborn, which recently was acquired by Netflix, added about $9 million for a $50.3 million total. Huayi Brother’s fantasy feature fell to a distant seventh place with just $2.6 million and $36.7 million in total.

The Chinese New Year period officially comes to a close on Friday — and with the end of the enormously lucrative holiday window regulators will lift their protectionist blackout on Hollywood film releases. The first studio title to test the waters of China’s again-booming theatrical market will be Warner Bros.’ live-action/animation hybrid Tom and Jerry, opening Friday, Feb. 26.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter by Patrick Brzeski

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