'Big Hero 6' reigns atop China box office; 'Jupiter' also ascending

Disney's 'Big Hero 6' topped the Chinese box office last week, adding $29 million to its haul on the mainland

Disney’s “Big Hero 6” took a soaring leap at the Chinese box office last week, adding $29 million to its haul on the mainland and bringing its total in the territory after nine days to more than $43 million.

The animated “Big Hero” eclipsed the debut of “Jupiter Ascending,” which nevertheless earned $23.6 million during its first weekend of release, good enough for third place, according to figures from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

That was a sliver of good news for backers Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, as the pricey production fared poorly stateside, with just $45 million in tickets sold.

“Jupiter” performed almost as well in China in its opening weekend as “Cloud Atlas,” the last film by siblings Andy and Lana  Wachowski, did in its full mainland run in 2013. That film earned nearly $27 million in China, Artisan said.

Chinese audiences have shown an enthusiasm for space-themed movies and science fiction books in recent years; “Gravity” and “Interstellar” also performed strongly in China.

“The Man From Macau 2” clung to second spot on the box-office charts last week, earning $27.6 million. The Chinese casino crime comedy starring Chow Yun-fat and directed by Wong Jing has rolled up $141 million in earnings for Bona Film and has now become the top-grossing release of 2015 in China.

Meanwhile, “Wolf Totem,” French director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s 3-D, Mandarin-language environmental film clawed another $20.6 million from audiences, putting it in fourth place for the week and pushing its total just past $100 million.

Rounding out the top five was Jackie Chan’s historical action film “Dragon Blade,” which earned $13.1 million. It also is now in official blockbuster territory, with earnings of $114.9 million.

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