Homecoming, a patriotic survival film, has dominated mainland China’s box office for the third weekend in a row. The first full week after the National Day holiday period saw overall declines in numbers, sometimes referred to as the ‘Golden Week’.
“Homecoming” earned $12.1 million (RMB85.6 million) between Friday and Sunday, according to data from consulting and research firm Artisan Gateway. This gave the film a share of 64% of the weekend collection across the country.
By that count, it was far ahead of the second-placed film “Give Me Five,” which was released on September 9, 2022. “Give Me Five” earned just $1.9 million over the weekend, for a six-week total of $63.8 million.
The third number is “Common Hero”, which is released in time for national day celebrations like “Homecoming”. It earned $1.8 million in its most recent weekend for a three-week total of $23.0 million.
The Chinese-made animation film “New Gods: Yang Jian”, released on August 19, 2022, took fourth place with RMB 5 million (about $700,000). After nine weeks on release, it has grossed $76.8 million. Another animation franchise title, “New Happy Dad and Son 5: My Alien Friend” grossed RMB4.2 million ($600,000) for a 16-day total of $10.2 million.
The box office in China remains very depressed and deals with a large number of problems. These include: a lack of major new release titles, either local or foreign; A rotten economy, weighed down by high youth unemployment and a property market crisis; And the ongoing COVID-19 policy, which leads to lockdowns and mass testing at leisure.
Sunday’s figures were also influenced by the turnout at President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech held every five years on the first day of the Communist Party National Congress. Local reports suggest that several forms of entertainment were suspended during the president’s address.
Artisan Gateway calculates that China’s year-to-date box office now stands at $3.88 billion, some 33% below 2021 levels.
However, the figures look worse in dollar terms than they would using local currency or entry values. This is due to the fall of the renminbi (or Chinese yuan) against the US dollar over the past 12 months. A year ago, the exchange rate was $1=RMB6.44. Today is $1=RMB7.20.