China Box Office: ‘Mulan’ Defeated Yet Again by ‘The Eight Hundred’
Art and Experience: Disney’s “Mulan” made only $6.47 million over its second weekend in China, allowing it to be handily defeated once again by the local war epic “The Eight Hundred,” according to data from industry tracker Maoyan.
As of Sunday evening, the Disney title has earned a cumulative $36.5 million (RMB 247 million) in the key territory. But “The Eight Hundred” led the Chinese box office by more than tripling those earnings, despite already being a month into its theatrical run.
“The Eight Hundred” has now earned a total of $425 million (RMB 2.88 billion) since is Aug. 21 debut, making it China’s highest grossing film of the year so far. It is projected to continue on to a total box office of $446 million (RMB 3.02 billion), according to Maoyan estimates.
In contrast, “Mulan” is currently projected to earn just $41 million (RMB 278 million) — less than a tenth of that tally. The film accounted for about 1 in 5 screenings in China over the weekend and only around 16% of total ticket sales.
Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” trailed “Mulan” quite closely to come in third this weekend with earnings of $5.6 million, bringing its Sunday evening cume up to $61.4 million (RMB 415 million). “Tenet” opened in China the week before Disney’s live-action remake.
Despite the fact that Disney went out of its way to make a film that it thought would appeal to Chinese audiences, Nolan’s sci-fi thriller has received better viewer ratings across all platforms and is currently projected by Maoyan to earn $66.9 million (RMB 453 million)— significantly more than “Mulan.”
In fourth place this weekend was an unexpected contender: the 2018 Italian crime thriller “The Invisible Witness (Il Testimone invisible).” Directed and co-written by Stefano Mordini, the film is a remake of the 2016 Spanish thriller “The Invisible Guest,” a title helmed by Barcelona-born Oriol Paulo, which grossed $25 million in China in 2017.
In three days in China, the film earned $2.52 million — nearly half of its entire global box office to date. Prior to its China debut, the film had earned $5.3 million worldwide from just four territories: Italy, the Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand. In China, it has likely benefited from the strong word-of-mouth and positive impressions audiences had of Paulo’s prior film.
In fifth place was Hong Kong film “I’m Livin’ It,” a drama about homeless people who live out of a 24-hour fast food restaurant in the expensive metropolis, starring Aaron Kwok as an out-of-work banker and Miriam Yeung as a struggling singer. It grossed $1.45 million in its opening weekend. Directed by Wong Hing-fan, it won nine nominations and one supporting actor win for Cheung Tat-ming at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Tom Hanks biopic of children’s TV presenter Fred Rogers, saw its China premiere this weekend, but it had low sales, making just $212,000 in its debut. This put it below the opening weekend of U.K. animated title “Trouble” (which came in sixth with a $940,000 debut) and other titles including “Onward” ($544,000) and “The Blue Defensive Line,” a jingoistic documentary about Chinese UN peacekeeping mission in Africa, which debuted to sales of $483,000.