ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ENVELOPE COMPANY TOWN

'Monkey King,' 'Hobbit' help fuel China box-office surge

BEIJING -- Not even two months into 2014, China’s box office has topped $900 million, a blistering pace far ahead of last year, when receipts for the entire first quarter were about $830 million.

The strong results are being powered by a number of films, including “The Monkey King,” which in the week that ended Sunday became only the fifth film to cross the 1-billion-renminbi milestone at the mainland box office, consulting firm Artisan Gateway said.

That puts “Monkey” in rare company. Other films that have surpassed that threshold  -- about $163 million at Wednesday’s exchange rate -- are “Avatar” (2010), “Transformers 3” (2011), the comedy “Lost in Thailand” (2012) and “Journey to the West” (2013).

FULL COVERAGE: Reel China

“The Monkey King,” which arrived in theaters just as the Chinese New Year holiday was getting underway Jan. 31, took in $8.67 million for the week ending Sunday, bringing its total to $168.6 million.

The top film of the week was Warner Bros. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which raked in $33.8 million in its first weekend. That’s nearly double the $19.5 million the first film in the series, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” took in on its opening weekend, Artisan said.

In second place was “Beijing Love Story,” which has been a crowd pleaser since its opening on the eve of Valentine’s Day. The light romance, a series of interlocking stories, took in $20.6 million for the week, bringing its tally to $54.6 million.

PHOTOS: Box office top 10 of 2013

Third place was claimed by “The Man From Macau,” which earned $10.9 million. The film from director Wong Jing has flown a bit under the radar, holding at No. 3 for the last four weeks, but nevertheless it has grossed $79.2 million.

Disney’s “Frozen” -- known here as “Snow Romance” -- brought in $8.7 million for the week. Its total China box office now stands at $40.2 million, a record for a Disney animated film, Artisan said.

Overall, mainland China’s year-to-date box office has taken in $903 million.

ALSO:

"Trouble with the Curve" lawsuit faces key test

'Conjuring' spinoff 'Annabelle' is filming in Los Angeles

Netflix-Comcast deal ends Internet consumption dispute

julie.makinen@latimes.com

Twitter: @JulieMakLAT

PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | Movies ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz DOCUMENTARIES: 10 best of 2013, and a new crop in 2014  

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Comments
Loading