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Monkey King heads record-breaking New Year

Monkey King heads record-breaking New Year

By Kevin Ma

Sat, 08 February 2014, 09:30 AM (HKT)

Box Office News

The year of the horse got off to a prosperous start for the Chinese film industry with two record-breaking openings during the 7-day Lunar New Year holiday.

After shattering opening day records, fantasy film The Monkey King 西遊記之大鬧天宮 made a total of RMB619 million (US$102 million) from approximately 12.4 million admissions over the seven-day holiday. The RMB500 million (US$82.5 million) film accounted for about 30% for all screenings nationwide.

On 5 Feb, IMAX Corporation announced that The Monkey King made US$1.8 million on 31 Jan from Chinese IMAX screens, breaking the US$1.5 million single-day record previously set by Iron Man 3.

However, Beijing Enlight Pictures Co Ltd 北京光線影業有限公司's Where Are We Going, Dad? 爸爸去哪兒 was the true surprise of the holiday. From approximately 14.3 million admissions, the feature-length version of the hit reality show made RMB474 million (US$78.1 million) on its first seven days of release.

In addition to setting a new opening day record for a 2-D film, Dad has also set a new record as China's highest grossing documentary of all time. Like the television show, the film version features five celebrity fathers completing a mission with their children. The film was reportedly shot over five days in a Guangzhou safari park.

However, Dad has also come under attack from film critics, who criticised Enlight and filmmakers (including producer TENG Huatao 滕華濤) for simply putting a television reality show in cinemas. Director XIE Dikui 謝滌葵 has since defended the film to local media, accusing critics of undermining the hard work of the crew.

WONG Jing 王晶's From Vegas to Macau 賭城風雲 was a distant third, grossing RMB182 million (US$30 million) on its first seven days of release. It has already surpassed The Last Tycoon 大上海 (2012)'s RMB149 million (US$24.6 millon) gross to become the Hong Kong director's highest grossing film in Mainland China.

Despite a weak RMB5.65 million (US$932,000) opening, Huayi Brothers' EX-Files 前任攻略 maintained steady throughout the holiday. After seven days on release, the romantic comedy has made RMB42.9 million (US$7.07 million), despite having only 5% of all screenings for most of the holiday period.

Opening on 5 Feb, in time for the final two days of the holiday, Disney's Frozen made RMB34.5 million (US$5.7 million) from approximately 934,000 admissions on its first two days of release.

According to local media, total box office revenue for the holiday is approximately RMB1.41 billion (US$232 million). This represents a year-on-year increase of 86%. Total admission is estimated at 39 million from 84,300 screenings.

With a combined gross of RMB1.09 billion (US$180 million), The Monkey King and Where Are We Going, Dad? had a combined 77.5% market share. Both films topped the global box office chart over the weekend just from their domestic gross.

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