“Free Guy” held on strongly to grab a second weekend at the top of the mainland China box office. It beat an unusual theatrical release for “The Tomorrow War,” which has gone straight to streaming in other territories.
“Free Guy” earned $18.3 million between Friday and Sunday, according to data from consultancy, Artisan Gateway. That was only a 23% drop from its opening weekend performance, when it grossed $23.8 million.
Over ten days, it has accumulated $56.6 million. That already makes “Free Guy” the fourth biggest U.S. film of the year in China behind “F9,” “Godzilla Vs. Kong” and the rereleased “Avatar” which it will soon overtake.
Chinese authorities appear to have ended the annual summer blackout period when only Chinese-language titles are allowed fresh releases. “Free Guy” was given little advanced notice that its release could go ahead, but it caught on quickly.
“The Tomorrow War,” a film produced by Skydance Media, in which China’s Tencent has a minority equity stake, opened in second place over the weekend, earning $8.1 million. It may be the film’s only major theatrical outing. The Chris Pratt-starring film, with a production budget reported at $200 million, was released online in multiple other territories by Amazon Prime Video from July 2.
“Raging Fire,” a Hong Kong-China actioner which ruled the summer box office for four weeks, earned another $6.1 million in third place. It has now accumulated $176 million since July 30.
Pixar’s “Luca” snared another $1.3 million in fourth position. Its cumulative since Aug. 20 runs to $12.8 million.
“Zero To Hero,” a Hong Kong production about the city’s first Paralympic athlete to win a gold medal, took fifth place in the weekend chart. Data is not directly comparable as the film released only on Saturday, a day before the end of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Despite the good numbers for “Free Guy” and the unusual theatrical outing for “The Tomorrow War,” overall box office in China remains in the summer doldrums. Nationwide aggregate box office over the weekend was worth only $38.6 million.
Artisan Gateway calculates that the year-to-date total is $5.11 billion. That is nearly 27% below the equivalent point in pre-COVID 2019.