Bona Film Group’s The Battle At Lake Changjin topped the China box office over the National Day holiday weekend, according to figures from theatrical consultancy Artisan Gateway, grossing $234.8m in four days.
The patriotic blockbuster, co-directed by Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam, opened on September 30 and grossed $31.6m on its first day, followed by an additional $203.2m over the three-day weekend (October 1-3). China’s National Day holidays, celebrating the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, are an annual public holiday that runs this year from Friday, October 1 to Thursday, October 7.
Starring Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior 2) and Jackson Yee (Better Days), The Battle At Lake Changjin tells the story of a real-life battle during the Korean War, known in China as the ‘War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea’. Local media has been tapping into the current wave of nationalism when discussing the film, which has a 9.5 rating on the Maoyan ticketing platform and 7.6 on Douban.
China Film Co’s omnibus My Country, My Parents also opened on September 30 and came in second with $76.6m over the October 1-3 weekend and $90.6m over its first four days. The film has segments directed by Zhang Ziyi, Xu Zheng, Wu Jing and Shen Teng, with the latter three also starring alongside names such as Huang Xuan, Ma Li and Song Jia.
It follows two other patriotic omnibus films – My People, My Country, which grossed $492m over the National Day holidays in 2019, and My People, My Homeland, which took $437m over the same holiday period in 2020.
Although several other local films opened over the weekend, nothing came close to the top two grossers. Two animated features, Dear Tutu: Operation T-Rex and Goldbeak, opened on October 1 and charted third and fifth respectively over the three-day weekend with $3.5m and $2.7m.
Another children’s film, Yu Fei’s live-action Little Canned Men, opened on September 30 and came in fourth with $3m over the October 1-3 weekend, for a cumulative total of $3.5m over its first four days.
Enlight Media’s Water Boys also opened on October 1, but fell outside the top five with an opening weekend gross of $2.5m.
IMAX had its best ever National Day holiday opening weekend, grossing $13m from The Battle At Lake Changjin, My Country, My Parents and Water Boys. However, $12.9m of that haul came from The Battle At Lake Changjin, making it IMAX’s third best opening weekend of any Chinese title behind The Wandering Earth and Detective Chinatown 3.