Box Office In China With A $63 Million Opening Zhang Yimou’s “Under the Light”

In the realm of China’s box office, the spotlight is firmly on Zhang Yimou, the esteemed 73-year-old director.

Under the Light Wins Mid-Autumn Holiday Race With $63M Opening

box office in China

His 26th creation, the crime drama “Under the Light,” took center stage during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, reaping $62.6 million in ticket sales over four days. This success follows his earlier venture, the historical mystery thriller “Full River Red” (2023), which dominated China’s previous major holiday release during the Lunar New Year in January, amassing a staggering $673 million—the highest earnings in the country for the year and the sixth highest of all time.

Box Office In China With A $63 Million Opening Zhang Yimou's "Under the Light"

Local ticketing app Maoyan currently projects that “Under the Light” could potentially rake in between $250 million and $300 million before concluding its run. If this forecast holds true, Zhang Yimou would be on the brink of hitting the remarkable $1 billion mark in total ticket sales for 2023.

Despite the triumph of “Under the Light,” the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend witnessed spirited competition. Huayi Brothers Media’s comedy sequel, “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan,” secured second place with $54.3 million. Meanwhile, Chen Kaige’s propagandistic Korean War epic, “The Volunteers: To the War,” made its debut with an impressive $34.7 million. Additionally, Herman Yau and Andy Lau’s crime action film, “Operation Moscow,” opened with $23.2 million, and the sports comedy “Lose to Win,” a remake of a popular Spanish film, collected $7 million in earnings.

On the international front, the sole U.S. release was Paramount/Spin Master’s “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie.” Although it emerged victorious during the weekend in North America with $23 million, its start in China was more subdued, opening to just $5.3 million. Nonetheless, it’s expected to pick up momentum during the remainder of the holiday period, aided by strong social scores. Maoyan predicts it could reach close to $15 million, a notable improvement from the $12.8 million garnered by the first Paw Patrol film in early 2022.

Further down the charts, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” continues to maintain modest sales, even a full month after its local launch. The film received a 30-day screening extension from local regulators. Currently, 34 days post-release, “Oppenheimer” has accumulated a total of $63.7 million in earnings, according to daily data from media firm Entgroup.

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