Chinese Box Office: "Skyfall" Up to Astounding $51M; "The Grandmaster" at $45M

Skyfall

Sam Mendes’ “Skyfall” starring Daniel Craig opened a couple weeks ago in China and riveted audiences to the tune of $35M in the first week and $16M in the second, for a total of $51M so far.

It’s a huge hit in China, unless, like this writer, your views got distorted by the recent records broken by “Lost in Thailand” and “Chinese Zodiac.”

Jet Li, one of China’s biggest and most consistent draws, only has one film gross over $50M, and that’s Tsui Hark’s “The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate” with $87M. The rest of his films, mostly martial arts epics, hover around $30M, and they’re considered huge blockbusters.

It’s very rare for a film to gross over $100M in China. Even $50M is not an often occurrence, and “Skyfall” did it in just a few weeks.

It’s not like it needs to make any more money in the international market for Sony; they’re already way in the black when “Skyfall” passed the $1B mark worldwide about a month ago. But hey, another $51M from China doesn’t hurt. Its worldwide gross so far is an eye-popping $1.1B -- by far, the best in the James Bond franchise.

Last week, “Lost in Thailand” and “Chinese Zodiac” both dropped off the top ten. “Lost in Thailand” did $197.4M total, just a tad short of “Avatar”’s $203M record. “Chinese Zodiac” disappeared after $137M. It’s been a good run for both films. They’re the first and second highest grossing Chinese films of all time, respectively. Let’s see how long those records will hold up.

Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” is about to drop off the top ten with $45.3M in total earnings. Looks like it’ll probably not beat “Red Cliff”’s $46.7M to become Tony Leung Chui-Wai’s best earner.

“Cloud Atlas” debuted last week with a solid $11.3M, good enough for second place behind “Skyfall.” Worldwide, it has grossed $85.2M. It has an unconfirmed budget of $100M, so it’s gonna lose a decent chunk of cash for Warner Bros.

A pair of locally produced animated features entered the top ten and are solid. “The Mythical Ark: Adventures in Love & Happiness” has done $15M in two weeks. “Roco Kingdom: the Desire of Dragon” did $5M last week.

Another notable film in the top ten is “Mysterious Island 2,” which disappointed with just $2.4M after two weeks. The first film was a surprise hit in 2011 when it took in $10M with a budget of just $2M. It was hailed for successfully utilizing the horror formula from Hollywood -- put a bunch of beautiful women with big boobs into a cheap production and have them scream throughout the film. Yeah, reviews were poor, but it was highly profitable.

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