The Steven S. DeKnight-directed sequel opened well ahead of Guillermo del Toro’s first film and scored Hollywood’s second-best debut in the Middle Kingdom so far this year.
Legendary and Universal’s Pacific Rim Uprising romped its way to a strong $65 million start in China over the weekend.
The Steven S. DeKnight-directed sequel opened 44 percent ahead of the first Pacific Rim, helmed by Guillermo del Toro, which debuted to $45.2 million during the summer blockbuster season of 2013.
The sequel’s $65 million showing is Hollywood’s second-biggest opening in China this year, a step behind Marvel’s Black Panther ($67 million) but well ahead of Tomb Raider ($41 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($40 million) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($28.1 million).
Legendary East, the Chinese affiliate of Legendary Entertainment, was the exclusive marketing and distribution partner for the film, which, like all Hollywood titles, was officially imported by state distributors China Film Group and Huaxia. Legendary is owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which acquired the studio for $3.5 billion in 2016. The local partners helped Pac Rim 2 secure a generous screen share of over 40 percent throughout its opening weekend.
Warner Bros.’ Tomb Raider, knocked to second place, earned $11.5 million. After two weekends, the film has totaled $69.5 million in China.
China was the first Pacific Rim‘s biggest global market, contributing $111.9 million compared to $101.8 million in North America. The film had a worldwide total of $411 million. Pac Rim 2 will need to keep up the momentum if it is to match its predecessor and take down fellow sci-fi spectacle Ready Player One, opening Friday.
So far, word of mouth looks potentially problematic though. The film has a score of 5.8/10 on movie reviews site Douban, and 7.6/10 on ticketing platform Maoyan. That’s quite a bit below the audience ratings for other recent Hollywood imports, like Black Panther (6.7/10, 8/10) and Tomb Raider (6.4/10, 8/10).
John Boyega and Scott Eastwood star in Pac Rim 2 as a new generation of young Jaeger pilots who must save humanity from mass destruction by otherworldly monsters from the deep. The sequel features several young Chinese talents in key supporting roles, including actress Jian Tian and Hong Kong’s Wesley Wong.
Holding onto third place in its sixth weekend on Chinese screens, Bona Film Group’s mega blockbuster Operation Red Sea added $6 million for a whopping $565 million total.
Amazing China, a propagandistic documentary about Xi Jinping’s drive to make China great again, landed in fourth, earned $4.1 million for a four-weekend total of $63 million. The movie is China’s most successful “documentary” ever.
Indian comedy Brother Bajrangi earned $3.4 million for a fifth-place finish, demonstrating the continued strength of Bollywood blockbusters in China. The movie, directed by Kabir Khan and starring Salman Khan, has racked up $42.3 million in the Middle Kingdom to date.