Superheroes ruled at box office here in 2016

Captain America: Civil War led pack of six superhero titles in top 10 highest grossing movies chart; no Asian film made it to the list

Most of last year’s hits, including top grosser Captain America: Civil War starring Chris Evans, were not original titles but revisited past territory.
Most of last year’s hits, including top grosser Captain America: Civil War starring Chris Evans, were not original titles but revisited past territory..PHOTO: DISNEY/MARVEL

No Asian film made it to the top 10 highest grossing films here in 2016, a year which saw superheroes strengthen their stranglehold on the box office.

Six superhero movies made the list. Captain America: Civil War is No. 1 with $11.3 million, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse (No. 2, $8.1 million), Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (No. 3, $7.8 million), Doctor Strange (No. 4, $7.5 million), Deadpool (No. 6, $6.3 million), and Suicide Squad (No. 8, $5.97 million).

This is four more than the two superhero titles in the top 10 for 2015, including The Avengers: Age Of Ultron in pole position with $13.1 million.

Of the two Asian representatives on 2015's top 10 list, one failed to find his Midas touch and the other lent his star power to a Western film.

Local director Jack Neo, whose Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen made it to No. 6 in 2015 with $7.63 million, could manage only $4.2 million and $3 million for the two-parter nostalgic drama Long Long Time Ago.

Martial arts star Donnie Yen propelled Ip Man 3 to No. 5 in 2015 with $7.65 million, but lent his chops last year to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which has made $5.61 million so far to claim the No. 9 spot.


    1. Captain America: Civil War - $11.3 million

    2. X-Men: Apocalypse - $8.1 million

    3. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice - $7.8 million

    4. Doctor Strange - $7.5 million

    5. *Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them - $6.5 million

    6. Deadpool - $6.3 million

    7. Zootopia - $6.01 million

    8. Suicide Squad - $5.97 million

    9. *Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - $5.61 million

    10. Finding Dory - $5.59 million


    1. Train To Busan - $5.4 million

    2. The Mermaid - $4.4 million

    3. Long Long Time Ago - $4.2 million

    4. Long Long Time Ago 2 - $3 million

    5. From Vegas To Macau III - $2.4 million

    6. *The Great Wall - $2.2 million

    7. Cold War 2 - $2.1 million

    8. *Lulu The Movie - $2 million

    9. The Monkey King 2 - $1.6 million

    10. Young & Fabulous - $1.3 million

    * Still showing in cinemas

Most of 2016's hits revisited past territory. Even if they were not outright sequels, they were part of familiar worlds such as the larger-than-life universes of Marvel (Doctor Strange, Deadpool) and DC (Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad), the intergalactic battleground of Star Wars, the wizarding realm of Harry Potter (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them), and the waters inhabited by a forgetful blue fish (Finding Dory).

The lone original title among the top 10 was the animated animal adventure Zootopia (No. 7, $6.01 million).

The other animation movie on the list was the sequel to the beloved aquatic family film Finding Nemo (2003), Finding Dory.

Dory, which squeezed into the top 10 here with $5.59 million, was the No. 1 film in the United States for 2016, with takings of US$486 million (S$696 million).

While no Asian film cracked the overall top 10 - just like none did in 2014 - Zhang Yimou's CGI extravaganza The Great Wall could if it keeps up its pace. Starring big names Matt Damon and Andy Lau, the fantasy opened here on Dec 29 and has already made more than $2.2 million as of Jan 2, enough to land it at No. 6 on the Asian top 10 chart.

Unusually, the No. 1 Asian film last year is Korean - the zombie thriller Train To Busan. It raked in $5.4 million, more than five times the earnings of the next best performing Korean movie here. Romantic comedy 200 Pounds Beauty (2006) had made $980,000.

Train has also ploughed through to the No. 6 spot on the all-time list of Asian movies in Singapore.

Coming in at No. 2 on the Asian list last year was the Stephen Chow comedy fantasy The Mermaid with $4.4 million. The two-parter nostalgic drama Long Long Time Ago took the No. 3 and 4 spots, with parts one and two earning $4.2 and $3 million respectively.

Home-grown film-maker Neo, 56, was hoping for them to hit $5 million each. His most successful films are the three instalments of the national-service-themed Ah Boys To Men series. Each crossed the $6 million mark.

He tells The Straits Times: "It's a bit of a pity that they couldn't match up to Ah Boys. The national service subject matter appeals to men and women, young and old alike, while some younger viewers might have been put off by the dialects in Long Long Time Ago which they do not understand."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'Superheroes ruled at box office here in 2016'. Subscribe