'Thor: Ragnarok' rules China's box office, beating 'Murder on the Orient Express'

Disney/Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” pummeled a field of competitive new releases, including Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” to top the Chinese box office for a second consecutive week.

The action-fantasy blockbuster brought in $41.1 million last weekend for a cumulative total of $96 million after 10 days in theaters, according to film consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

The latest “Thor” film — the franchise’s third installment — has out-earned the final grosses of its two predecessors combined. Its opening weekend also marked the highest-grossing opening weekend of any imported film since “War for the Planet of the Apes” in September.

Online reviews of “Thor: Ragnarok” were generally positive, as high-budget 3-D Imax films continue to draw young Chinese viewers. China’s box office has grossed $6.94 billion this year, already surpassing 2016’s full-year figure of $6.88 billion.

Reviewers in China praised the film’s accurate Chinese subtitles and its witty dialogue, which they compared to the talkative Spider-Man in Marvel’s recent release “Spider Man: Homecoming.”

Sony’s “Murder on the Orient Express” also performed well in the Middle Kingdom on Friday, but it slowed over the weekend, earning $19.1 million, a distant second behind “Thor.” Director Kenneth Branagh’s film, the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s renowned murder mystery, also stars one of China’s box-office magnets: Depp.

The Mainland China-Hong Kong co-production “The Brink” opened in third place with $6.9 million. It failed to surpass another Chinese-language film, “Paradox,” released earlier this year, which starred the same actors, Wu Yue and Ka Tung Lam — a reminder that Chinese-language films, barring intriguing story lines or strong 3-D effects, still struggle to outperform imported Hollywood films.

Warner Bros.’ natural disaster thriller “Geostorm” ranked fourth after a healthy performance in the last weeks, earning $6.1 million for a 17-day total of $64 million.

“Seventy-Seven Days,” another Chinese-language film, rounded out the top five, grossing $5.4 million in ticket sales; after 10 days, it has a total of $7.2 million.

Zhang is a special correspondent.

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