Chinese sci-fi comedy “Moon Man” held station at the top of the mainland China box office, albeit at a lower orbit. After ten days in cinemas its cumulative total is a fraction of a degree short of $300 million, and it operated at a higher elevation than new launch sci-fi actioner “Warriors of Future.”
The strong figures came despite some cinemas remaining closed in key cities and capacity limitations remaining in place in others. Hainan Island went into lockdown over the weekend as a cluster of COVID cases emerged. Consultancy, Artisan Gateway calculates that the weekend haul of $91.8 million propels the nationwide year to date box office total at $3.3 billion. Its deficit compared 2021 was reduced to 30%.
There were no Hollywood titles in the latest weekend top five, giving Chinese films all the kudos. This time of year is traditionally considered an unofficial blackout period or ‘Chinese film support month,’ when major foreign films are not permitted to release. The exact dates of the blackout are never disclosed, but given the new low in U.S.-China diplomatic relations following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Hollywood may feel the drought for longer than usual.
“Moon Man” earned $60.5 million (RMB 405 million) between Friday and Sunday, according to Artisan Gateway. That was a week-on-week decrease of 54%.
Imax reports that some $4 million of the film’s weekend total came from its screens and that on Thursday, known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, it earned $1.8 million.
Since releasing on July 29, 2022, “Moon Man” has accumulated RMB2.01 billion or $299 million. Within that figure, the film’s Imax total now stands at some $12 million.
“Moon Man” tells the story of “the last human in the universe” as an astronaut finds himself stranded on the moon after an asteroid wipes out life on earth. It is directed by Zhang Chiyu, who previously directed 2017 sports comedy hit “Never Say Die.” It was produced by Mahua FunAge, a consistently successful comedy production firm.
“Warriors of Future” opened in second place with a Friday to Sunday score of $20.8 million (RMB139 million). Including advanced screenings, it has shot to a $30.1 million (RMB202 million) total.
The film is a much-delayed project hatched by big name Hong Kong star Louis Koo, who is credited as producer and lead actor. After three years in development, it finally began production in 2017, but COVID-related delays both in mainland China and in Hong Kong kept its release glued to the launch pad for a further three years. It will next week open the Hong Kong International Film Festival and head into local release from Aug. 25, 2022.
Directed by Ng Yuen-fai, “Warriors” recounts how an alien-carrying asteroid crashes into Earth. It has the effect of cleansing the planet and wiping out most of humanity. The remaining Hong Kong military attempts to do battle with the alien plant’s genome, but in the process discovers a conspiracy.
The iQiyi Pictures-backed romance film “Almost Love” opened on Thursday (Aug. 4). It earned $2.5 million (RMB16.7 million) over the weekend proper and $10.1 million (RMB67.7 million) over its opening four days.
Locally-made animation film “GG Bond: Ocean Mission” opened on Saturday (Aug. 6) and sailed to a $2 million (RMB13.4 million two-day debut.
In fifth place, “Lighting up the Stars,” a previous box office winner that continues to appeal, earned $1.8 million (RMB12.4 million) over the latest weekend. Its cumulative stands at $250 million (RMB1.67 billion) since releasing on June 24.