Chinese Box Office: Stephen Chow's "Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons" Breaks Opening Day Record

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

You know when a market’s hot? When box office records are shattered on a regular basis. Just a couple months ago, “Painted Skin 2: Resurrection” still held two regional box office records: the highest grossing Chinese film of all-time and the biggest opening day gross of all time for a Chinese film. Both of those records have now been broken.

“Lost in Thailand” and “Chinese Zodiac” have relegated “Painted Skin 2: Resurrection” to third place on the all-time gross list. Now, Stephen Chow’s latest action-comedy “Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons” also snatched away Painted Skin 2: Resurrection’s all-time opening day record.

“Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons” opened on Chinese New Year (Sunday, February 10th) and took in $12.5M. Including imports, the all-time high is still “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” with $16.4M.

According to Weibo, “Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons” did nearly as well on Monday, and has taken in $24.2M in just two days. It has just passed “Kung Fu Hustle” ($20.3M) to become Chow’s second highest grossing film in China, behind “CJ7” ($26.1M). In another day, it’ll easily become his highest earner.

At this rate, it could also become the third Chinese film to gross over $100M within the last two months, making this feat more of a regularity.

With just its single day earning of $12.5M, “Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons” was the top film last week. This is amazing for a Stephen Chow film that he only directed, but not starred. The film certainly benefited from the presence of Lost in Thailand’s Huang Bo.

The Stephen Chow action comedy is another adaptation of one of the most popular novels in Chinese literature “Journey to the West.” In the U.S., it was adapted for the big screen by Lionsgate with “The Forbidden Kingdom,” which featured the first pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li in a film. In June, Chinese audiences will see yet another version titled “The Monkey King 3D,” an expensive $63M production starring Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-Fat. I have a feeling lots of box office records will be shattered when that opens.

In second place at last week’s box office is “Cloud Atlas,” which held up really well with $10.1M. Its total is $21.4M after two weeks. If it continues to hold up well during the following weeks, it can overtake its U.S. gross of $27.1M. Worldwide, it has taken in $102.4M so far, which is slightly more than its unconfirmed budget of $100M.

“Skyfall” took the brunt of Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons’s success and fell to the third place with $6.4M. Its cumulative gross is a spectacular $57.3M. Worldwide, the James Bond film is at $1.1B.

In fourth place is “Hotel Deluxe,” a Chinese New Year film that benefited just a tad from the holiday. It took in $4.2M, totaling $6.7M after two weeks.

“Bring Happiness Home” is topping out at $24M, a surprisingly huge success for a low-budget dog movie. The Mythical Ark: Adventures in Love & Happiness’s cumulative gross is $17M, surprisingly good for a locally produced animated feature.

Next week should be interesting. If “Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons” continues at its current torrid pace, it could gross a staggering $100M in just 8 days! Even more amazing, it’s doing it without Stephen Chow in the cast.

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Senh created and operated Rotten Tomatoes out of his apartment at one point before coming together with friends to turn it into a real company. He's back to doing what he loves with Movies With Butter.

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