‘The Adventurers,’ a jewelry heist flick from Warner Bros’ Chinese joint venture Flagship Entertainment, opened in third place with a healthy $22.4 million.
The victory march continues for China’s biggest blockbuster ever.
Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior 2 continued to astonish in its third frame, adding $83 million to again top the international charts. After 18 days on Chinese screens, the patriotic action movie has pulled in a colossal $683 million. The film is now the third highest-grossing title of all time in a single territory, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($937 million) and Avatar’s ($750 million) historic runs in North America. To what heights Wolf Warrior 2 will ultimately ascend remains to be seen, but it will easily climb past the $700 million mark later this week.
A Rambo-like patriotism and adrenaline exercise, the film was written by, directed by and stars Wu, alongside American-Hong Kong actress Celina Jade and Hollywood import Frank Grillo. The action is set in deepest Africa, where Wu’s titular special forces agent battles cretinous Western mercenaries to rescue Chinese civilians and restore Middle Kingdom honor. The slickly produced spectacle cost just $30 million to make.
Two Chinese new releases rose to the challenge of exerting a little drag on Wolf Warrior‘s relentless momentum over the weekend. Guilty of Mind, a crime thriller from Wanda Film and Shanghai Media Group, opened in second place with a healthy $24.8 million. An adaptation from a mystery novel of the same name by Chinese author Lei Mi, the movie was directed by Xie Dongshen and stars Li Yifeng, Liao Fan, and Wan Qian.
Just a step behind was The Adventurers, a Stephen Fung-directed heist flick set during the Cannes Film Festival and starring enduring local favorites Andy Lau and Shu Qi. It debuted to $22.4 million, which can be chalked up as a win for Warner Bros., which co-produced the movie via its Chinese joint venture studio Flagship Entertainment. China Film Co., Alibaba Pictures and Media Asia also co-produced, among other local investors.
All of the aforementioned box-office performers have been boosted by China’s ongoing Hollywood blackout policy, which bars foreign competition from the market during late summer, when Chinese kids are out of school and the whole country is in vacation mode. The next major international titles to hit China will be Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (in dire need of a Chinese lift), Disney’s Cars 3 and Sony’s Baby Driver — all opening on Aug. 25 — followed by Dunkirk on Sept. 1 and Spider-Man: Homecoming on Sept. 8. Kenneth Lonergan’s Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea, meanwhile, will test the Middle Kingdom’s nascent art house circuit with a limited 100-screen release on Aug. 25.