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John Woo's 'The Crossing' sinks at China box office

John Woo's "The Crossing: Part 1" sank to third place at the Chinese box office

John Woo’s highly anticipated romantic nautical epic “The Crossing: Part 1” could not right its ship in its second week in Chinese theaters, sinking to third place in the box-office rankings in the seven days ending Sunday.

Woo’s 3-D movie, based in part on the true tale of the star-crossed Taiping luxury liner that sank in 1949 near Taiwan, earned just $7.7 million last week, according to data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. Outpacing it and taking first place for the second week running was “Fleet of Time,” a nostalgic youth drama from director Zhang Yibai that has now grossed over $72 million.

Woo’s movie, dubbed “the Chinese Titanic,” has earned just $25.8 million since its Dec. 2 release. At that pace, the film is unlikely to surpass the $33-million mark. A second installment is scheduled for release in 2015.

Reviews for the first installment have been lukewarm, with one on the popular movie website mtime.com calling it “head-scratching” and saying it did “not meet expectations.” Next week, Woo’s film will find itself up against stiff competition from Jiang Wen’s “Gone With the Bullets.” Presales for that movie are approaching $50 million, according to some local media reports. 

In second place for the week ending Sunday was the romantic comedy “Meet Miss Anxiety,” directed by South Korea’s Kwak Jae-yong, which opened Friday and earned $13.7 million in its first weekend in theaters.

After “The Crossing: Part 1” came Hong Kong director Pang Ho-Cheung's “Tender Woman,” taking fourth place. Rounding out the top five was DreamWorks Animation’s “Penguins of Madagascar,” which has now earned more than $40 million on the mainland.

Tommy Yang in The Times’ Beijing Bureau contributed to this report.

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