The Chinese-language comedy "Lost in Hong Kong" was anything but lost last week at the mainland box office, raking in $107 million from Friday to Sunday – a record opening weekend for a Chinese film.
The movie, the third in a loose series from director Xu Zheng, accounted for more than 70% of ticket sales in the seven days ending Sunday, according to figures from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. China's total year-to-date box office takings have now surpassed $5 billion. Last year's total box office gross was $4.8 billion.
"Lost in Hong Kong" built upon the popularity of 2012's "Lost in Thailand," which made about $200 million and is still the second-highest-grossing Chinese film of all time. And it featured two popular stars, Bao Beier and Vicki Zhao. "Lost on Journey," the movie that kicked things off, made just $5.8 million in 2010.
See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour >>
The distributor of "Lost in Hong Kong," Enlight Pictures, brought on a co-distributor, Maoyan Movie, which is a subsidiary of a large online group purchase platform, Meiyuan. Enlight also cooperated with Alibaba's T-mall platform for franchise sales, Artisan said.
"Lost in Hong Kong" trounced several holdover Hollywood films, including "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation," which took in $11.5 million, bringing the total gross for the Paramount Pictures movie to $131.2 million. At this juncture, the Tom Cruise starrer looks unlikely to surpass the 1-billion-renminbi ($156 million) threshold.
"Minions" came in third for the week, with $9 million, bringing the total mainland China gross for the Universal Pictures film to $59 million. Both "Mission" and "Minions" were saddled with release dates many weeks after their stateside debuts as China imposed a long summer blackout period on foreign films to boost the earnings of local productions.
Rounding out the top five films for the week were the melancholy local romance "The Third Way of Love," which debuted with $7.5 million, and Sony's holdover "Pixels," which took in $3.2 million, bringing its total gross to an underwhelming $15.4 million.
Whether "Lost in Hong Kong" can break further records remains to be seen. China is entering a prime movie-going week as the mainland celebrates its National Day on Thursday, and schools and many businesses are closed for seven days, but a number of new releases are slated to hit screens during the vacation period.