Saturday was officially a workday in China, as the country geared up for the annual Tomb Sweeping holiday, which runs Sunday to Monday.
Warner Brothers and Legendary Entertainment’s Kong: Skull Island slowed down to catch its breath during a quiet pre-holiday weekend in China.
After opening to a mighty $72 million in the Middle Kingdom last week, the film slipped to $23 million during its sophomore frame, taking its 10-day total to $123 million, according to Ent Group. But thanks to a quirk in the official Chinese calendar, Saturday was actually a work day in China, as the country gears up for the annual Qingming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival, which runs Sunday to Tuesday.
The long holiday weekend is customarily reserved for local Chinese film openings, but Legendary’s parent company, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, and internet powerhouse Tencent, which holds a stake in the film, managed to position Jordan Vogt Roberts-directed period monster epic to open the frame prior, so that it could carry through the holiday period. Kong should hit the $150 million mark sometime this week, but a $200 million China total looks beyond reach.
A trio of local titles debuted Friday to try to knock out the big gorilla’s legs. Beijing Enlight’s The Devotion of Suspect X, an adaptation of a best-selling Japanese mystery novel by Keigo Higashino, topped the big U.S. import on its first day, earning $6.7 million over Kong’s $4.8 million (remember, Saturday was a workday). But by Saturday, Kong was again king, taking $7.1 million compared to Suspect X‘s $6.7 million — and the gap only widened slightly on Sunday. Including Thursday previews, Suspect X roughly tied Kong with $22.8 million for the weekend.
Coming in third, Perfect World Pictures’ action-thriller Extraordinary Mission, directed by Alan Mak and written by Felix Ma (the duo behind Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs), opened to $8.8 million. Meanwhile, The Missing, a crime thriller from Wanda, debuted to $6.6 million.
Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell opens on Friday, with producers undoubtedly hoping for a big bow in the Middle Kingdom to cushion the film’s somewhat disappointing opening stateside.