‘Witch’ tops China box office; ‘Continent’ approaches $100 million


Bona Film Group is on a hot streak at the mainland China box office with “The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom” claiming the top spot for the second week in a row and “The Continent” approaching $100 million in earnings.

“Witch,” a fantasy-romance directed by Hong Kong helmer Jacob Cheung and starring Fan Bingbing, took in $19.8 million in the seven days ending Sunday, film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway said. The movie, produced by Bona Film Group, has now earned about $56.3 million since its July 31 release.

In second place for the week was “Brick Mansions,” the action film starring the late Paul Walker alongside RZA and David Belle. The movie, directed by Camille Delamarre, has earned more in 10 days of release in China — $21.5 million — than it did in its full run in the U.S., where it debuted in April to poor reviews and took in just over $20 million.


In third place was “The Continent,” a nostalgic road-trip movie directed by popular writer and race car driver Han Han, 32. The film — Han’s first — was released July 24 and is approaching $100 million at the box office. With earnings now at $96.4 million, it’s Bona’s top-grossing film ever, according to Artisan Gateway.

Culture-watchers have been keeping a close eye on “The Continent” to see how it would fare compared to the movies of another young writer-turned-director, Guo Jingming, 31.

Guo’s “Tiny Times” series of slick “chick” flicks — three installments have been released so far — have performed well, but all have been outpaced by “The Continent,” a more serious, sometimes gritty story about a group of young men who take a road trip from their island in eastern China to the country’s wild west.

Rounding out the box office top 5 for the week were the romantic comedy “Girls,” in fourth place with $11.2 million, and “The Legend of Qin,” an animated movie that took in $6.2 million on its opening weekend.

Year to date, mainland China box office earnings have totaled $2.97 billion.

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