Art and Experience: After weeks of Hollywood domination, the Chinese box office saw a trio of local films take the top places over the July 8-10 weekend.

Top ranked was crime actioner “Cold War II” with $43.8 million, according to data from Ent Group. Second was animation “Big Fish & Chinese Flowering Crabapple” with $34.4 million, with romance “So Young 2: Never Gone” in third with $26.8 million.

“Cold War II” played strongly through all the weekend, peaking conventionally on Saturday. Its success may a relief for many in the industry, as it seems to prove the durability of the Hong Kong crime action genre when well-executed, the endurance of star power (Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Eddie Peng and Charlie Yeung among the big names,) and the usefulness as a commercial launch pad of the Shanghai Festival, where it had been the opening film.

The score by “Big Fish” immediately make it one of China’s top home grown animations.

The good news for the Chinese industry follows a significant box office slowdown in the first half of the year, in which Chinese-language films dominated the first three months due to a quartet of Chinese New Year smash hits. But that period was followed by a weak second quarter in which Hollywood titles opened brightly and and local films failed to score.

That slowdown, last week appeared to prompt China’s film regulators to shrink or even collapse that annual ‘blackout period’ which in mid-summer usually means only Chinese films are given major releases.

Top Hollywood title of the week, in fourth place, was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” with $6.61 million in its second week. Previous chart topper “Now You See Me 2” plunged to sixth with a third week score of $1.86 million.

Splitting the two was “Rock Dog” in fifth place with $3.64 million. The U.S.-Chinese animation film has been the subject of an intense whispering campaign.

It has been suggested that the Wanda group, operator of the country’s leading cinema chain, a producer and distributor, set out to destroy the chances of the film, produced and distributed by another Chinese major company Huayi Brothers, by depriving it of screens. The evidence is unclear: the film’s daily screening count was close to that of “TMNT2” at 12,000-13,000, but its per screen scores were inferior. On the other hand, the scores for “Rock Dog” improved on both Saturday and Sunday, suggesting that audiences were responding positively.

Seventh place went to previous week’s release “Bounty Hunters,” with just $1.14, a more than 90% drop compared with its $17.8 million opening weekend. After 10 days it has amassed $30.3 million.

Local film “Foolish Plan” opened with $1.12 million in eight place. Ninth was Hollywood holdover, “Independence Day: Resurgence” with $1.02 million. That extended its 17 day cumulative to $73.8 million. “Finding Dory” snared tenth place and $400,000, for a 24 day total of $37.8 million.

Source: Variety