Local crime thriller No More Bets dominated China’s box office during the Aug. 11-13 weekend, bringing in a boffo $101.1 million haul. The film enjoyed generous preview screenings ahead of its opening Wednesday and has earned an eye-popping $247.5 million already.
Meg 2: The Trench, the giant shark action sequel co-produced by Warner Bros. and China’s CMC Pictures, slipped to third place in its second weekend with $16.7 for the frame and $91 million overall. Chinese fantasy blockbuster Creation of the Gods 1: Kingdom of Storms climbed back into second place, taking in $26.8 million for a hefty $283.4 million four-weekend total, according to data from Artisan Gateway.
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Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, meanwhile, bombed with a three-day start of just under $1 million — despite the presence of Chinese action icon Jackie Chan in the starring voice cast. The flop continues a trend of Hollywood titles struggling to break through at China’s box office. Local ticketing service Maoyan projects Ninja Turtles to top out in China with just $1.5 million.
No More Bets is executive produced by Chinese hitmaker Ning Hao (Crazy Alien) and directed by relative newcomer Shen Ao. The film follows a computer programmer (Lay Zhang) and a model (Gina Jin) who are enticed abroad by the promise of high-paying jobs but find themselves duped by a ruthless gang and forced to participate in online fraud. Ao has said that he researched hundreds of cases of a real-life cyber fraud cases involving Chinese citizens as part of his writing process. Maoyan forecasts that No More Bets will finish its run with over $500 million, which will make it China’s biggest hit of the summer.
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which got a surprise box-office boost from cosmopolitan young Chinese women, has begun winding down in the market. It has earned $35.8 million to date, with Maoyan forecasting only slight gains to come.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer will be the next high-profile U.S. title to hit China when it opens Aug. 30.
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