Youth films, chick flicks dominate Chinese box office

The Chinese homegrown chick flick “Tiny Times 4” topped the mainland box office last week, opening with $59 million in its first four days as regulators kept new foreign films off cinema screens.

Author-director Guo Jingming’s franchise has been a popular if divisive series, with some cultural critics denouncing the movies as vapid and overly materialistic. But it’s been box-office gold; so far, the franchise has hauled in $269 million, according to data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

A coming-of-age story about aspiring young musicians and dancers, “Forever Young,” the directorial debut of Chinese TV host He Jiong, came in second last week, opening Friday and taking in $42 million through Sunday.

Renowned director Chen Kaige saw his literary adaptation “Monk Comes Down the Mountain” slip to third place last week, with $23 million in the seven days ending Sunday. Chen is typically known for more serious fare such as “Farewell My Concubine” and “Yellow Earth,” but “Monk,” a lighthearted martial arts film, has grossed $61 million to date.

In fourth place was the animated tale “Monkey King: Hero is Back,” directed by Tian Xiaoping, which opened Friday and took in $16 million.

“Jurassic World” added $7 million to its monstrous run in China, bringing the Universal Pictures film’s haul to $229 million since it debuted on the mainland on June 10.

Year to date, China’s box-office gross receipts have topped $3.54 billion, Artisan said.

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