'Zootopia' becomes No. 1 animated film in China; 'Revenant' opens strong

Julie Makinen
Contact ReporterReporting from Beijing

“Zootopia” sprinted past “Kung Fu Panda 3” last week to become the top-grossing animated film ever in China as the mainland’s year-to-date box office topped $2 billion. 

Disney’s tale of a mammalian metropolis earned $59.1 million in the seven days ending Sunday, data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway showed, bringing its total earnings to $172 million over just 17 days. That’s about $19 million more than “Kung Fu Panda 3” earned after its late January release.

March is typically a slow moviegoing period in China, coming after the major Spring Festival holiday, but this year has seen strong attendance.

Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio poured into theaters this weekend to see “The Revenant,” which has received a post-Oscars release on the mainland and earned $32 million in its first three days in cinemas. DiCaprio, who has a huge following in China dating to “Titanic” and the TV show “Growing Pains,” appeared in Beijing over the weekend along with producer Brett Ratner to meet reporters and fans, and to promote the movie.

In third place for the seven days ending Sunday was “Gods of Egypt,” the Gerard Butler action-adventure Lionsgate release that flopped stateside. With $32 million in box office receipts in China, the film has performed better on the mainland than in North America but has not yet earned back its $140-million budget. 

“Ip Man 3,” the Mike Tyson-Donnie Yen martial arts film that came under investigation for inflated box office receipts in early march, landed in fourth place last week, with a reported $8 million in tickets sold. China’s film regulators have barred the movie’s distributor from releasing films for one month after some $5 million in receipts were determined to be fake. 

Rounding out the top five for the week was the local romantic comedy “Rise of a Tomboy,” which earned $5 million in its opening weekend. As for other Hollywood releases now in theaters, 20th Century Fox’s uplifting ski jumper tale “Eddie the Eagle,” starring Hugh Jackman, landed in 10th place with $400,000.

China’s year-to-date box office now stands at $2.09 billion, Artisan said.

Nicole Liu in The Times' Beijing bureau contributed to this report. 

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