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 top-grossing movie this year.
It amassed a whopping $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 earlier this year. The nationalist movie’s success comes during a summer period during which China bans imported releases, a blackout meant to boost its domestic film industry.
“Wolf Warriors 2,” directed by and starring well-known martial artist Wu Jing, features a Chinese special operations soldier who stumbles into 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 animation “Despicable Me 3” — a Hollywood film released before the blackout — held in fourth place with $4 million in ticket sales. It has garnered $151.7 million so far and is the eighth-highest grossing non-Chinese film this year.
The Chinese animated film “Daer Tutu,” produced by Shanghai Film Group, registered $2 million in ticket sales to reach only $5.1 million in 10 days.