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'Tomb Raider' tops China's box office with $41.5 million

'Tomb Raider' tops China's box office with $41.5 million
Alicia Vikander portray Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider," which grossed $41.5 million in its opening weekend in China. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Hollywood action film "Tomb Raider" topped China's box office last week, grossing a stellar $41.5 million in its debut, according to data from film consultancy Artisan Gateway.

The Warner Brothers/MGM movie, a reboot of the popular Lara Croft character played by Angelina Jolie, stars Alicia Vikander and popular Chinese American actor Daniel Wu.

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Chinese fans enjoyed the film's action, giving it a solid 64% average rating from a pool of 28,259 reviewers on the Chinese film rating website Douban.com.

"Audiences who have seen "Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe" [a popular Chinese film from 2015] would foresee every turn of events," said one of the top-voted comments on the website.

Another Hollywood blockbuster, "Black Panther," fell to second place last week, after an initial surge of Chinese interest helped drive it across the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales.

The film has suffered poor word of mouth in China, where audiences are somewhat unfamiliar with Western racial dynamics. It made less than $29.5 million in the last week, and has grossed a cumulative $96.6 million in China.

The fiercely nationalist domestic drama "Operation Red Sea," released over a month ago during China's Spring Festival, is still going strong with $23.4 million in receipts last week. Despite a 58% drop in ticket sales from the prior week, the military action film remained in third place.

The film, with $554.2 million in cumulative grosses, is now officially China's second highest-grossing film in history, overtaking "The Mermaid" but is still a long way behind the sensational "Wolf Warriors 2" of summer 2017.

In fourth place was "Amazing China," a 90-minute propaganda documentary by China's state broadcaster that extols the achievements of President Xi Jinping's first term. Already the highest-grossing domestic title of its genre, the film apparently awed enough viewers to pull in an additional $15.9 million in its third week of screening, raising its total box office to $52.1 million and beating the Oscar-winning Fox Searchlight's "The Shape of Water."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' favorite largely failed to make great waves on the other side of the Pacific, managing only $10.7 million in ticket sales.

But the heart-wrenching fantasy drama fared better than most of its rivals in audience reviews, earning a 73% average rating from 144,038 users on Douban.com.

Universal Pictures' "Pacific Rim: Uprising" will premiere in China on March 23.

Fan is a special correspondent.

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