China's box office smashed records over Chinese New Year

Detective Chinatown 3 took in 2.8 billion yuan within three days of its release over the weekend.
Detective Chinatown 3 took in 2.8 billion yuan within three days of its release over the weekend.PHOTO: MM2 ENTERTAINMENT

China's box office smashed records over the Chinese New Year season, with takings surpassing 6 billion yuan (S$1.2 billion) on Monday evening (Feb 15), according to Xinhua News Agency.

Long-awaited movie Detective Chinatown 3, which was delayed a year due to the global pandemic, was the biggest winner, taking in 2.8 billion yuan within three days of its release over the weekend.

This marked the first time China's national box office has ever broken RMB1 billion a day for three consecutive days.

This was despite caps on cinema capacity at 75 per cent in most of the country and 50 per cent in regions particularly at risk for Covid-19, such as Hebei province.

According to American entertainment magazine Variety, this means that in just three days, Detective Chinatown 3, the latest instalment in the hugely successful buddy action-comedy, made US$100 million (S$132 million) more than Christopher Nolan's Tenet worldwide and nearly triple the global sales of Wonder Woman 1984.

In second place at the box office was a surprise hit, time-travel movie Hi, Mom, which surged up the charts due to strong word of mouth, including a number of four-star reviews on local ratings apps. Fantasy thriller A Writer's Odyssey came in third.

Of the seven new releases for the festive season, which did not include any Hollywood titles, the Andy Lau vehicle Endgame came in last.

More than 122 million tickets have been sold since Feb 11, according to professional box office tracker Dengta Data, with more than 34 million tickets sold on Feb 12, the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Both figures were the highest in China's film history.

The Chinese New Year festive season is usually a peak period for cinemas in China.

People are especially eager to go watch a movie this year as millions have heeded the government's call to avoid travelling home for Chinese New Year to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.