The nostalgic romantic youth drama "Fleet of Time" sunk director John Woo's much-anticipated nautical epic "The Crossing: Part 1" at the Chinese box office in the seven days ending Sunday.
"Fleet of Time," directed by Zhang Yibai, took in $33.7 million after opening Friday, figures from box-office consulting firm Artisan Gateway showed. Advance screenings brought in some additional cash, putting the film's total haul so far at $37.1 million. Films that hark back to the 1980s and '90s have done particularly well at China's box office in recent years.
"The Crossing," meanwhile, opened Tuesday and managed to pull in just $18.1 million over its first six days. The film, loosely based on a true story of a ship that sank in 1949 during the Nationalists' flight to Taiwan amid China's civil war, has been dubbed China's "Titanic," with a second part due out later.
But the early returns indicate that Woo’s film is unlikely to reach the box-office heights touched by
In third place for the week was "Women Who Flirt," a domestic production that's now grossed $27 million total.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction," however, remains the king of the Chinese box office this year, with more than $300 million in ticket sales.
In fifth place for the week was
December was expected to be a strong month for domestic productions, with Woo's film debuting and the release of Jiang Wen's actioner "Gone With the Bullets" scheduled for Dec. 18. "Gone" is a follow-up to Jiang's 2010 smash hit "Let the Bullets Fly."
However, producers of the film said this week that its premiere had been delayed amid last-minute censorship issues.
The producers quickly apologized for the delay in getting final approval from the film bureau. "We tried our best, but unfortunately all the conditions are not in place. Thanks for your understanding. We will have the premiere on another date," the film's production company, Buyilehu Films, said in a statement via social media.
“Gone” stars Ge You,
Producers insisted Tuesday that they were still on track to release the film Dec. 18, but refused to elaborate on the specific issues that led to the delay of the premiere.
Jiang is certainly familiar with the censorship bureau -- the director was barred from making movies for seven years after his 2000 film “Devils at the Doorstep” screened at the
Special correspondent Sean Silbert in the Times' Beijing bureau contributed to this report.