Who needs the United Nations? Ousted from her brief tenure as Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls last year, Wonder Woman this week successfully lassoed both Chinese and Korean markets. The DC superhero’s film debut had a US$38.8 million opening weekend in mainland China and has a current total of US$44.1 million.
Building on Gal Gadot’s cameo portrayal of the character in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, the female superhero displaced last week’s Hollywood invader, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which picked up an extra US$17.6 million over the last weekend. Dropping to the number two slot after its success over the Dragon Boat holiday period, Dead Men Tell No Tales now has a cumulative treasure chest of US$147.3 million.
Hindi movie Dangal, featuring Aamir Khan as the father of not one but two daughters who aspire to compete in international wrestling tournaments, still has a strong hold on Chinese audiences. The Indian film picked up an additional US$9.1 million over the weekend and now has a cumulatve US$170.5 million in ticket receipts – an impressive feat that every Indian producer now dreams of replicating in the Chinese market.
Outmaneuvered by Hollywood and Hindi releases, Japanese anime Doraemon the Movie 2017: Great Adventure in the Antarctic Kachi Kochi made a disappointing debut, taking third place with a total of US$17.2 million, despite opening during the holiday period. A perennial favorite in China as well as its native Japan, the blue Robo-cat’s earlier 3D anime Stand By Me Doaraemon was a box office smash at the 2015 Chinese box office but this 2D anime is, by comparison, an underachiever.
In fourth place is this week’s highest-ranking Chinese film, Beautiful Accident. Reworking the South Korean film Wonderful Nightmare, Beautiful Accident features Taiwanese actress Gwei Lunmei as a hard-nosed young mainland lawyer who dies in a car accident and is reincarnated as a housewife and mother. The comedy drama has gathered an underwhelming US$1.9 million since opening on June 1.
The Korean box office followed a similar pattern to the mainland. Wonder Woman topped the charts, so far collecting US$9.7 million and pushing Johnny Depp and his crew into second position. The fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dead Man Tell No Tales, added a weekend gross of US$3.7 million to its overall Korean total of US$18.6 million.
In third place in Korea is Jeong Yoon-chul’s Warriors of the Dawn. The story of a 16th Century defense troop protecting the peninsula from Japanese attack, this historical epic has secured US$4.5 million but is already starting to show signs of box office battle fatigue.
Meanwhile, in the land of the rising sun, Beauty and the Beast has now topped the Japanese charts for seven continuous weeks. Bringing in US$2.7 million over the weekend, the live action version of the Disney animation this week passed the US$90 million mark and is on track to become one of Japan’s highest grossing films ever.
Second in the Japanese chart is the latest X-Men franchise spin-off, Logan. The last entry in the mutant series to feature Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan clawed in US$1.4 million. That figure is down on the US$1.8 million the previous entry in the series took in Japan when it opened in September, 2013.
The 16th Century also features on the Japanese chart this week. Debuting at number two, Shinohara Tetsuo’s Flower and Sword is a comical retelling of the real-life friendship between Buddhist monk and ikebana master (Nomura Mansai) and legendary tea ceremony connoisseur Sen no Rikyu (Sato Koichi). Skewing towards an older, and predominantly female audience, Flower and Sword raised US$1.1 million in box office receipts.