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China Box Office: 'Avatar' Adds $14M to All-time Global Record

 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Chinese slapstick comedy 'Overall Planning' and STX's '21 Bridges' both fell flat, opening to just $2.7 million and $2.3 million.

James Cameron's Avatar again dominated China's box office over the weekend, adding $14.1 million to its record as the world's top-grossing film of all time.

Over the past 10 days, the 2009 blockbuster has earned $41 million on rerelease, lifting its career total in China to $250.2 million. The return of Cameron's sci-fi fantasy event movie came as something of a surprise to China's moviegoers, after regulators cleared the film for re-release just three days in advance.

Not surprisingly, Cameron's VFX-driven 3D vision of Pandora has proved especially popular on Imax. The rerelease has earned $13.1 million of its total so far from Imax theaters, with the Imax network taking approximately 30 percent of sales despite accounting for only 1 percent of total screens in China.

Avatar had held the title of world's biggest blockbuster for nearly a decade until Marvel's 2019 juggernaut Avengers: Endgame nudged ahead in 2019 earning $2.7902 billion. As of Sunday, though, Avatar again has a substantial lead, with $2.8302 billion and counting.

Chinese New Year champion Hi, Mom came in second for the weekend, taking $6.7 million. The sentimental comedy has earned a historic $819.8 million to date, the second most ever in China. Andy Lau's Chinese New Year offering scored third, adding $3.8 million for a $111.1 million total.

New release Overall Planning, a slapstick comedy, was widely panned by local critics and audiences, opening to just $2.7 million. But that was still better than the start made by STX's 21 Bridges, starring  Chadwick Boseman, which was released by Huayi Brothers Media and earned only $2.3 million.

Russian-Belarusan import Persian Lessons, a blackly humorous but ultimately heartbreaking Holocaust-set story, was praised by those who saw it, scoring 9.3 and 8.3 out of 10 on Maoyan and Douban. But the film opened in eighth place with only $1.8 million — another grim sign for sellers and importers of foreign indie filmmaking to China.

Legendary Entertainment's monster smackdown Godzilla vs Kong will be the first new Hollywood tentpole to hit the China market in months when it opens there on Friday.


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