As China waits for 'Star Wars,' 'Mojin' digs up $183 million at box office

The grave-robber adventure “Mojin: The Lost Legend” dug up an additional $93 million in ticket sales in China last week, ruling the box office for a second week and bringing its total 10-day haul on the mainland to an impressive $183 million.

The Wanda Pictures release, which is also playing stateside at some AMC theaters, has benefited from strong word of mouth in China, with a rating of 7.9 out of 10 on Chinese fan site douban.com.

The movie, directed by Wuershan, has also benefited to some degree from the absence of competition from Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which held its China premiere on Sunday but won’t open in the country until Jan. 9.

“Mojin” is now the sixth-highest-grossing Chinese-language film on the mainland ever, according to film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. According to Rentrak, the movie has made about $560,000 stateside.

Although Christmas is not a national holiday in China and most schools, offices and businesses are operating as normal, the Dec. 21-27 week saw relatively strong box office of $230 million. But no Hollywood films are currently in wide release in the mainland.

In second place for the seven days ending Sunday was Enlight Media’s comedy “Devil and Angel,” the second directorial effort of actor Deng Chao, who scored in 2014 with his romantic comedy “The Breakup Guru.” “Devil and Angel,” about a gifted student who goes on a journey with a debt collector to face her own neuroses, earned $77.7 million through its first four days in theaters.

In third place for the week was “Mr. Six,” a star-studded drama that saw renowned director Feng Xiaogang return to the front of the camera. The Huayi Bros. film, directed by Guan Hu, earned $38.6 million in its first four days in theaters, Artisan said.

“Mr. Six” debuted on the international festival circuit in the fall, playing at Toronto and Venice. The story centers on an aging ex-criminal (Feng), known as Mr. Six, whose son gets in trouble with a group of rich young men and has to come out of retirement to save him. The film opened stateside last week as well and earned about $375,000, Rentrak said.

Rounding out the top five for the week were the holdover “Surprise,” which has now earned $48.8 million for Wanhe Tianyi Media, and Wanda Pictures’ “Detective Chinatown,” which earned $4.3 million in preview screenings but doesn’t officially open until Thursday. 

Follow @JulieMakLAT for news from China

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
73°