erik lundegaard


Thursday May 03, 2018

Chinese Box Office, Addendum

Wolf Warrior II box office

Leng Feng beat Americans in “Wolf Warrior II” but at the box office he sidestepped Hollywood for 28 days.

Been thinking about this post more. Wu Haiyun is arguing that the boffo box office for Chinese films indicates a rejection of western values of individualism and liberalism in favor of the following Chinese values: “collective effort, patriotism, and self-sacrifice for the cause of national rejuvenation.”


She also argues that periods in which the Chinese government don't allow new foreign films to be shown, called “Hollywood blackout periods” or, in China, “Domestic Film Protection Month,” have nothing to do with this rejection of western and embrace of Chinese values. 

Chinese audiences, not the Chinese government, are turning their noses up at Hollywood.


And yet ...

Here are the highest-grossing domestic movies in China, along with how long they were protected from U.S. competition:

Film Dom. $$ Release date Days w/o US comp
Wolf Warior II $854 Jul. 29, 2017 28
Operation Red Sea $579 Feb. 16, 2018 14
Detective Chinatown 2 $541 Feb. 16, 2018 14
The Mermaid $526 Feb. 12, 2016 14
Monster Hunt $381 Jul. 16, 2015 0
Monster Hunt 2 $356 Feb. 16, 2018 14
Never Day Die $334 Sept. 29, 2017 21
The Ex-File 3 $306 Dec. 29, 2017 7
Kung Fu Yoga $254 Jan. 27, 2017 14
Mojin: The Lost Legend $255 Dec. 18, 2015 21
Journey to the West 2 $239 Jan. 27, 2017 14
Lost in Hong Kong $234 Sept. 21, 2015 14
Goodbye Mr. Loser $226 Sept. 21, 2015 14

Only one movie, the original “Monster Hunt,” went head-to-head against a Hollywood competitor. Well, “Hollywood.” It was “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” so really more Brit than U.S. After that, “Monster” had more than a month without a Hollywood competitor until “Terminator: Genisys” showed up in late August. As is the case for most of the above. 

Wu might also want to respond to an article on “What's on Weibo,” the Chinese social media site, that indicates that not all Chinese filmgoers necessarily want self-sacrifice; some want Hollywood movies. They want the blackout periods to end. 

Bottom line: We‘ll never know how true Wu Haiyun’s words are until China actually gets rid of Domestic Film Protection Month.

Posted at 06:02 AM on Thursday May 03, 2018 in category Movies - Foreign