Feng Xiaogang’s disaster drama opens on 4,000 Chinese screens; Aftershock also marks the first time a foreign-language film will be released by IMAX.

Chinese filmmaker Feng Xiaogang’s disaster drama Aftershock took in $24.04m in its first four days of release in Hong Kong and mainland China, breaking several box office records in both territories.

In mainland China, according to the film’s producer and distributor Huayi Brothers Media, Aftershock opened in 4,000 screens on Thursday with 2,500 prints (film prints and digital prints combined) and 20 IMAX screens in mainland China.

Its opening-day sales reached $5.34m (RMB36.2m) and broke the previous opening-day record set by Avatar in January with $5.27m (36m) [according to the exchange rate at the time].  Three days later, up until midnight on Sunday, July 25, the film took in $23.6m (RMB160m), excluding the box office gross in IMAX screens, which also set the new first-weekend record in mainland China. The film’s gross in IMAX screens is not yet available.

In Hong Kong, the film was released by Media Asia on the same day in 24 cinemas, which is the biggest release scale for a mainland Chinese film in Hong Kong. In three days, the film took in $450,000 (HK$3.38m), which also set the highest first-weekend gross for Feng’s films in Hong Kong. 

Feng, who is know for his comedies such as Big Shot’s Funeral and A World Without Thieves, choose to combined disaster scenes and heart-wrenching (and tear-inducing) drama in Aftershock. Produced by Huayi Brothers Media, starring Zhang Jingchu, Xu Fan and Chen Daoming, the story follows a family devastated by the 1976 Tangshan earthquake.

Aftershock also marks the first time a foreign-language film will be released by IMAX. It will start on screens in China’s mainland and Hong Kong, and could move to other territories according to demand. Last year IMAX and Huayi Brothers announced to co-distribute three Chinese-language films in IMAX screens, with Aftershock being the first movie under the deal.

The film will open in Singapore on July 28 from Scorpio East Holdings. Taiwan is planning to release the film in mid August with Walt Disney Taiwan handling distribution.