‘Wolf War­riors 2’ tops ‘Fu­ri­ous,’ takes No. 1 spot

Do­mes­tic film has amassed $471.2 mil­lion in less than 2 weeks.

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Gaochao Zhang Zhang is a spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent for The Times.

BEI­JING — The pa­tri­otic Chi­nese ac­tion film “Wolf War­riors 2” cruised past Hol­ly­wood com­peti­tor “The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous” at China’s box of­fice last week, mak­ing it the coun­try’s top­gross­ing movie this year.

It amassed $471.2 mil­lion in just un­der two weeks, ac­cord­ing to film con­sult­ing firm Ar­ti­san Gate­way, set­ting it on track to be­come the coun­try’s top gross­ing film ever.

“The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous” col­lected $380.5 mil­lion this year. The na­tion­al­ist movie’s suc­cess comes dur­ing a sum­mer pe­riod when China bans im­ported re­leases, a black­out meant to boost its do­mes­tic film in­dus­try.

“Wolf War­riors 2,” di­rected by and star­ring well­known mar­tial artist Wu Jing, fea­tures a Chi­nese spe­cial op­er­a­tions sol­dier who en­ters an un­spec­i­fied African coun­try to de­fend Chi­nese in­ter­ests and save dozens of lives threat­ened by Western mer­ce­nar­ies. Along­side Wu, it also stars Frank Grillo, Celina Jade, Wu Gang and Zhang Han.

Its high-dol­lar suc­cess, even with the black­out, is un­usual. Chi­nese films tend to re­ceive their big­gest bumps dur­ing the Chi­nese New Year pe­riod or at the end of the year.

Although over­shad­owed by “War­riors,” Alibaba Pic­tures’ fan­tasy ro­mance “Once Upon a Time” opened with an im­pres­sive $63.6 mil­lion last week. The film is based on a novel by Chi­nese au­thor Tang Qi called “Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blos­soms.”

The of­fi­cial pro­pa­ganda film “The Found­ing of an Army” took in $19.3 mil­lion for an 11-day to­tal of $49.6 mil­lion. Di­rected by An­drew Lau and fea­tur­ing a cast of celebri­ties, the film pays trib­ute to the 90th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army. It is the fi­nal film in a trilogy that has strug­gled to en­tice movie­go­ers.

The Uni­ver­sal and Il­lu­mi­na­tion an­i­mated film “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3” — re­leased be­fore the black­out — held on to fourth place with $4 mil­lion in ticket sales.

The Chi­nese an­i­mated film “Dear Tutu,” pro­duced by Shang­hai Film Group, reg­is­tered $2 mil­lion in ticket sales to reach only $5.1 mil­lion in 10 days.

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