Japanese animation film, “Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween” leaped to the top of the mainland China box office and gave the industry its best figures in six weeks. It also helped push the industry’s year-to-date cumulative past the $4 billion mark.
The film opened with $11.7 million (RMB81.7 million) according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was a nearly 50% market share and a wide margin ahead of second placed title “The Tipping Point,” which had been the previous weekend’s winner.
“The Tipping Point” earned $3.9 million (RMB27.6 million) in its second frame. Since releasing on Nov. 11 it has accumulated $17.7 million.
“Farewell Beijing” released on Friday and earned $2.3 million in its opening three days. Imported thriller “Fall” took fourth place with $1.4 million in its opening three days.
Previous chart-topping title “Home Coming” slipped to fifth place with $1.3 million over the weekend. That lifts it to a total of $223 million since release on Sept. 30.
The box office uptick, to $22.4 million overall, represents the highest total since the National Day holidays at the beginning of October. The score also lifted the year-to-date total to $4.04 billion according to Artisan Gateway.
Expressed in US dollar terms, the running total is more than 35% behind the same point last year and more than 50% below the figures for 2019, the last pre-COVID year. (Currency movements this year have also depressed the Chinese data when expressed in dollars, but they have not changed the reversal trend.) In both 2020 and 2021, when China appeared to be responding to COVID more successfully than some other countries, its box office was the biggest in the world.
Now China’s theatrical industry is laboring under a combination of lingering anti-COVID enforcement measures (the national daily caseload surpassed 25,000 in the last week) and economic and political uncertainty. This has translated into a shortage of local film releases and late minute approvals for imported titles.