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Bollywood’s 'Secret Superstar' reigns again over a quiet week in China's box office

Aamir Khan's Bollywood film "Secret Superstar" continued a strong showing at China's box office, even as the movie business took a sharp downturn.

Box-office revenue in the world's second-largest film market fell to $110 million last week, the lowest level since early December.

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The country's box office soars during national holidays, including next week's Chinese New Year celebration, when there is a flood of domestic films. But ticket sales can slow beforehand as citizens travel home or wrap up work.

The lull didn't hurt demand for "Secret Superstar," which dominated for a second consecutive week with $24.8 million in ticket sales, according to film consulting firm Artisan Gateway. The movie is now the top grossing imported film in 2018 with a total of $91.4 million in 17 days. That's nearly half of Khan's 2017 sport-themed hit "Dangal."

"Secret Superstar" stars Khan, a popular actor in China, and tells the story of a Muslim girl who must overcome struggles to become a singer. Khan, who boasts more than 1 million follows on Weibo, China's version of Twiter, has earned the nickname "Uncle Mi."

Khan, in a recent interview with Chinese state media, expressed interest in collaborating with Chinese actors to seize on the market's potential.

20th Century Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" came in a distant second, pulling an additional $15.4 million for a total of $38.6 million in 10 days. The sci-fi action film is the latest and final installment in the "Maze Runner" film series, which stars Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario.

Despite healthy ticket sales, the film received a poor review online. It scored 5.4 out of 10 based on more than 20,000 audience ratings, according to film rating website Douban.com.

Romantic adventure film "Till the End of the World" opened with $12.9 million after three days. Directed by the writer, Wu Youyin, the domestic film stars Mark Chao and Yang Zishan, who meet while stranded in a snowstorm.

The Chinese historical drama "Forever Young" earned an additional $12.4 million, to accumulate $109 million after 24 days.

"The Greatest Showman," another 20th Century Fox release, debuted with $7.7 million. The musical captures the rise of show business. Its anthem "This Is Me" won the Golden Globe Award for best original song.

Zhang is a special correspondent.

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