Art and Experience:

Crime comedy film “Be Somebody” held up strongly at the top of the mainland Chinese box office, in a weekend where the top four places remained unchanged.

“Be Somebody” scored $21.9 million on its third weekend of release, just 8% down on its second weekend figure, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. That give it a cumulative gross of $94.4 million, since releasing on Nov. 11.

The movie directed by Liu Xunzi Mo is a send-up of crime drama tropes, making fun of the genre through the story of a group of filmmakers trying to please a wealthy patron by creating a sufficiently blood-thirsty crime thriller when things begin to go awry in the mansion where they are cloistered to work on the project. It stars Zheng Yin (“Goodbye Mr. Loser”), Deng Jiajia, Yu Entai, and Yang Haoyu (“The Wandering Earth”). It was produced by Maoyan Pictures.

 

Keeping its second place, in its second weekend, was “The Door Lock,” a suspense horror film about a woman living alone in a big city. Produced by Hengye Pictures, the film is a Chinese remake of a 2018 Korean film of the same title and stars Bai Baihe, Adam Fan (aka Fan Chengcheng) and Cici Wang. It suffered a week-on-week drop of 68% for a weekend score of $6.3 million and a 10-day cumulative of $31.6 million.

Third place belonged to Chinese-made war film Railway Heroes, which earned $4.2 million over its second weekend, compared with $9.6 million in its opening period. Produced by Huayi Bros., the film is directed by Yang Feng (“The Coldest City”) and stars the evergreen Zhang Hanyu in a WWII tale of Chinese volunteers who band together to destroy Japanese military supply lines.

Holding fourth place with $3.9 million was “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” the Korean War-set actioner that on Wednesday claimed the record as the highest grossing film of any origin at the Chinese box office. Artisan Gateway shows it now with a running total of $894 million.

State-owned distributor Huaxia said that it had obtained another extension allowing it to keep playing the film until Dec. 30.

Newly released U.S. independent film “The Banker” took fifth place with an opening weekend score of $1.7 million. While there is a slew of more commercial Hollywood titles still without a release in China, giving a slot to “The Banker” plays to Chinese government narratives about racial injustices in the U.S.

The 1950s-set film sees Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson play two real estate developers who hide their Black identities by hiring a white man to pretend to be the company boss. They are later jailed after an FBI investigation. In the U.S. the film had a two-week theatrical run before moving to Apple TV Plus. In China, it premiered out of competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The aggregate nationwide box office haul over the weekend was $45.4 million, down 29% week-on-week. That keeps the running total at 26% below the same point in pre-COVID year 2019.

Source: Variety