The Chinese film market warmed up in November as overall admissions and box office were on the rise compared to the slightly slower market in October.
Among the films in various genres, Ang Lee’s 3D fantasy drama Life Of Pi and Hong Kong action film Cold War took the lead with $43.36m and $39.22m respectively by the end of November.
Directed by Lok Man Leung and Kim-ching Luk, Cold War revolves around a hostage crisis leading to an intense power play between two police chiefs and the following gun battles. Being the debut film for both filmmakers, Cold War caught the attention of the Chinese audience with a refreshing story and solid performances. The film opened on Nov 8 and topped the box office for the first two weeks until Life Of Pi opened. With a gross of $39.22m, Cold War became the highest-grossing wholly Hong Kong-produced film in mainland China.
Life Of Pi opened on Nov 22 and took in $16.23m during its opening weekend. Ang Lee’s popularity in mainland China, the film’s word-of-mouth and the higher 3D ticket prices all contributed to the film’s box office success. Still on release, the film had taken in $43.36m by the end of November.
Also opening in the same week was the re-release of disaster film 2012 in 3D. The film gained an impressive $19.07m in two weeks. Top-grossing films in November also included Disney’s 3D animation Wreck-it Ralph, with $9.86m, and DreamWorks’s animation Rise Of The Guardians with $4.03m.
Among local films, Feng Xiaogang’s disaster film Back To 1942 and Lu Chuan’s The Last Supper stood out. Both films were released on Nov 29. Back To 1942 took in $21.48m in the first three days of release and should easily gain more than $40m in the coming weeks. The Last Supper grossed $6.26m during its opening weekend.
November is usually the last month of the year for Hollywood films to be released in China. During December, the market will be dominated by local films.
Around 20 local films are scheduled for the crowded December-January release calendar and industry players are hoping the strong competition will result in box office growth. Jackie Chan’s CZ12, Andrew Lau’s period action dram The Guillotines and Wong Jing’s gangster drama The Last Tycoon, starring Chow Yun-fat, will go head-to-head in the week of Dec 20. Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmasters is scheduled to open in January.