Huayi Bros. war film set to pass “Bad Boys for Life” as 2020’s highest grossing film
It’s more bad news for Disney at the Chinese box office as “Mulan” has fallen 72% from its $23.2 million opening weekend, earning just $6.5 million in its second weekend for a total of $36.2 million.
At this pace, the Disney remake starring Liu Yifei is set to finish its Chinese theatrical run with just $45 million, less than the $53 million earned by last year’s live-action remake of “Aladdin.” Even factoring the usual steep drop that Hollywood imports suffer after opening weekend in China, it’s a sign that Chinese audiences have once again rejected Americanized depictions of their history and culture, even with popular Chinese actors headlining the cast.
By contrast, Huayi Bros.’ “The Eight Hundred” has continued to perform well in China, crossing $400 million in Chinese grosses and becoming one of the country’s top 10 highest grossing films with an estimated $417 million total. It is soon set to pass the $428 million global gross earned by Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” to become the highest grossing film of 2020’s pandemic-stricken box office.
As “The Eight Hundred” continues to leg out more than a month after its release, China’s film board has extended the $80 million movie’s run to October 21, making a domestic run of at least $450 million a certainty with continued IMAX support. Even better news for the country’s movie theaters is that health officials are loosening restrictions, allowing cinemas to raise their auditorium capacity limits to 75% in advance of the country’s National Day holiday beginning on October 1.
The National Day holiday is expected to be a major opportunity for the Chinese film industry to rebound after being shutdown by COVID-19 for over six months, including during the lucrative Lunar New Year holiday. The anthology drama “My People, My Homeland,” created to honor the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, is expected to lead the box office charts next month. There is also the possibility that the highly anticipated blockbuster “Detective Chinatown 3” could get a release date in Q4 2020 after it was delayed back in February, though a new date has not been confirmed.
“Mulan,” based on a popular 1998 animated film about a young girl who poses as a man to join the army fighting a Hun invasion, skipped theaters in the U.S. and many other overseas markets for a premium release on the Disney+ streaming service. So far, the studio has provided no data on the number of subscribers or revenue from that release.