Wednesday, January 27, 2010

China Weekly Box Office (1/18 - 1/24): Avatar broke $100m

Weekly Gross (yuan/dollar)
# of showings
Total (yuan/dollar)
1. Avatar(阿凡达)
172m ($25.20m)
694m ($101.66m)
2. Confucius(孔子)
28m ($4.10m)
28m ($4.10m)
3. The Spy Next Door(邻家特工)
23m ($3.37m)
39.5m ($5.79m)
4. Detective Conan(名侦探柯南)
3.2m ($0.47m)
4.15m ($0.61m)
5. Bodyguards and Assassins(十月围城)
2.2m ($0.32m)
292.2m ($42.80m)
6. Huang Di Xia(铠甲勇士之帝皇侠)
1.3m ($0.19m)
1.3m ($0.19m)
7. Short Of Love(矮仔多情)
0.8m ($0.12m)
0.8m ($0.12m)
(Source, 1 chinese yuan == $0.14650)

(NOTE: now the same source, which is supposed to be the official reporting agency, has changed Confucius' number to 38m yuan and admissions # to 902,062, even though the # of showings is not updated; very suspicious)

Contrary to initial (although unconfirmed) report, Avatar broke the $100m mark on Sunday instead of Friday. This will undoubtedly lead to more conspiracy theories that the numbers are being underreported. From all the evidences users are laying out on various Chinese forums, it is hard to dispel the notion, and the actual gross to date could in fact be 30-50m yuan higher. However, I would rather focus on the official numbers since they are what the record book will show and the pure awesomeness the run has been. It was down only 26.8% for the week despite losing most of the 2D screens to Confucius over the weekend. A good percentage of theaters are getting Avatar's 2D copies back this week, but how many showings they are going to give back to Avatar remains in question. In reality, 3D screens have been the driving force of this run, so any gross 2D could add from now on is just gravy.

With only one new animated film entering the market this week (Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf 2), there won't be much new disruption, so Avatar should see another excellent hold in the vicinity of 20% drop. After three weeks, the number of admissions is already up to 14,775,922, and one final record - Titanic's 18m admissions, the holy grail of all, is looking to fall sometime next week.

Amid all the controversies, Confucius is off to a soft start. 28m yuan in 3 days would normally be considered very good, as it indicates a final gross of around 150m, a benchmark only 10 films achieved last year. However for Confucius, a film which took 3 years to make, 150m yuan alone to produce, and was given a prime release date, it has to be seen as a disappointment. The word-of-mouth also appears very mixed, so it is unlikely to have any better-than-usual legs.

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