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'Wolf Warrior II' breaks China's box office record

The wildly successful, hyper-nationalistic action film “Wolf Warrior II” soared in the Middle Kingdom’s box office for a fourth consecutive week, becoming the first film in China to break the 5 billion yuan mark.

The film added $83.7 million in receipts last week, bringing its 25-day total to an unprecedented $765.6 million, according to film consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

Conventional patriotic Chinese movies have recently floundered on home soil, as Chinese moviegoers tire of their themes; they usually feature flawless party leaders delivering strong propagandistic monologues. “Wolf Warrior II,” by contrast, presented a seemingly Hollywood-style superhero, only backed with a strong sense of patriotism.

The hit movie also got a boost from the government. It comes during a summer period during which China bans imported releases, a blackout meant to boost its domestic film industry.

The Hong Kong-Chinese action-and-crime film “Paradox” came in a distant second in the box office last week, opening with a healthy $41.4 million after four days. The film is the third installment of Hong Kong director Wilson Yip’s SPL (Sha Po Lang) franchise, starring Louis Koo and Thailand’s Tony Jaa. It features a police negotiator who travels to Bangkok to search for his daughter with the help of two local detectives.

In third place was “Twenty Two,” directed by Guo Ke. The documentary records the experiences of 22 Chinese so-called “Comfort Women,” who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II. It grossed $18.6 million in its first seven days, making it the highest-grossing domestic documentary ever.

The crime thriller “Guilty of Mind” ranked fourth, taking in $13.4 million, bringing its total box office haul to $38 million after 10 days.

Hong Kong’s “The Adventurers,” starring Andy Lau, rounded out of the top five, with a disappointing $11.5 million in ticket sales.

Zhang is a special correspondent

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