'Coco' passes 'Justice League' for top spot at Chinese box office

The Disney animated film “Coco” cruised to the top of the Chinese box office last week, riding a wave of audience enthusiasm in the world’s second-largest film market.

Its ten-day total has now reached $75.9 million, making it Pixar’s most successful movie ever in China, according to consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

At the Beijing U-Town Bona Theater on Friday night audiences were moved to tears during the film’s final scene, crying behind 3-D glasses. On Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, users seemed to connect with the film’s themes of familial devotion.

“Today I heard the song ‘Remember Me’ and immediately started crying,” said one user.

The success of “Coco” is the strongest start for a Disney film in China since 2016’s “Zootopia.” That film would go on to gross $231.8 million at the Chinese box office.

Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” fell to second place in its second full week in Chinese theaters. It earned $15 million, bringing its 17-day total to $99.2 million.

The superhero film had been expected to coast to the $100-million mark but met unexpected competition in “Coco.” It is now approaching 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in Chinese box-office receipts.

Toho International’s animated film “Fireworks” debuted in third place, raking in $10.7 million in its opening weekend. “Fireworks” is a remake of the celebrated Japanese director Shunji Iwai’s 1993 TV drama of the same name.

Japanese animation found a foothold in China last year with the strong showing of Makoto Shinkai’s school-age romance film “Your Name,” also distributed by Toho International.

“Fireworks” has garnered mixed reviews, however, and has posted much weaker results than “Your Name” in its opening weekend. It looks unlikely to match its predecessor’s success.

Eric Tsang’s comedy “Kill Me, Please” debuted in fourth place in China. The film tells the story of a struggling writer who tries and fails repeatedly to commit suicide. The film earned $4.4 million in its opening weekend.

Not far behind was Media Asia Group’s “Manhunt,” garnering $4.3 million and fifth place in its first full week in theaters. The John Woo-directed police thriller is a remake of a 1976 Japanese film. Its 10-day total is now $15.6 million.

DeButts is a special correspondent.

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