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'Skiptrace' pads its lead at the China box office

“Skiptrace,” the Jackie Chan-Johnny Knoxville action-comedy, didn’t skip a beat at the China box office last week, adding $49 million to its haul and staying on top for the second week running.

But hot on its heels was “League of Gods,” a star-studded fantasy film.

The Renny Harlin-directed “Skiptrace” has earned more than $112 million in its first 11 days in theaters, according to figures from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. The film was produced by Beijing Talent Media.

Coming in at a strong second for the seven days ending Sunday was “League,” which had a $30.7-million, three-day opening weekend. The movie, produced by China Star Entertainment, stars Jet Li, Fan Bingbing, Angelababy, Louis Koo and Tony Leung.

The CGI-heavy “League” centers on a tyrannical king (Leung), a beautiful empress (Fan), a powerful sorcerer (Li), and a general (Koo) who rides a large black panther; the film is said to be based on a Ming Dynasty novel, “Investiture of the Gods.”

The film outpaced “Skiptrace” over the weekend and dominated by a number of screens. But reviewing the film in the South China Morning Post, Edward Lee was not impressed.

“When you must stage a pompous mess of a computer-generated spectacle, it often helps to give your paper-thin characters some familiar names from folklore,” he wrote.

The screenwriters, he added, extract “minimal personality from the star-studded cast, ending almost every battle scene with a whimper, and keeping the movie’s campy premise entirely humour-free.”

In third place after “League” was Warner Bros.’ “The Legend of Tarzan,” which added another $14.6 million to its receipts last week, bringing its grand tally so far to $42.6 million.

Rounding out the top five were two animated films, the Japanese cartoon “Doraemon” and the domestic Chinese production “Yugo & Lala 3.”

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