China Box Office: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Walloped Again by Local Drama ‘Sister’

Rebecca Davis
·3-min read

Godzilla vs. Kong” was once again muscled out of the top China box office slot by local drama “Sister” thanks to a $13.2 million third weekend cume that was no match for the latter’s $21 million.

Its China tally was a touch less than its $13.4 million second weekend sales in North America. Though “Godzilla” is being hailed Stateside as the highest grossing film domestically since the pandemic began for its $69.5 million cume to date, that figure is less than half its earnings in China thus far.

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The Legendary and Warner Bros. title has now grossed a total of $165 million in China since its March 26 release, with data from the Maoyan platform predicting that it will bow out with a final cume of $188 million. But whatever its final tally, China will certainly far and away end up its top market worldwide.

Even so, the monster movie was smacked down by “Sister,” the much quieter and lower-budget Chinese drama from first time helmer Yin Ruoxin. The film tackles the issue of gender bias within families that value sons more than daughters, exploring the pervasive sexism that still plagues many family dynamics through the story of a young woman who must take care of her much younger brother after their parents die in a car crash.

It stars Xiao Yang, the “Detective Chinatown” franchise star who is one half of the popular satirical music duo the Chopstick Brothers, and Wendy Zhang Zifeng (“Detective Chinatown,” “Go Brother!”). Zhang also anchors Yin’s next film, “Farewell, My Lad,” which is oddly set to hit screens alongside “Sister” after its April 16 debut.

In third place this weekend was the local animation “Monkey King Reborn,” yet another riff off of the classic “Journey to the West,” which earned $2.7 million.

The family drama “The Eleventh Chapter,” written, directed by and starring Chen Jianbin (“A Cool Fish,” “Longest Day in Chang’an”), was fourth with sales of $1.61 million.

Netflix last week announced that it had acquired multi-territory streaming rights to Chinese fantasy film “Super Me,” the tale of a struggling screenwriter who gains powers that allow him to enrich himself. It will debut in North America on May 8. The film grossed a rather disappointing $1.07 million in its China debut weekend, coming in fifth.

The title is directed by Zhang Chong, a producer of the third and fourth installments of the infamous “Tiny Times” franchise, and stars Taiwan’s Darren Wang (“Our Times”) and Song Jia (Lou Ye’s “The Shadow Play”). It was produced by Baima Film and Hehe Pictures, and was originally set to premiere in 2019, but its debut was cancelled by its distributor at the time.

No other titles made more than $1 million this weekend. The controversial Xinjiang-set musical “Wings of Song,” part of the country’s propaganda efforts to push back against international criticism of its treatment of its citizens, grossed a further $524,000, bringing its 14-day cume up to $1.11 million. It seeks to depict how happy and idyllic life is in a region where Beijing has arbitrarily detained up to two million ethnic minority residents in a campaign U.S. officials have referred to as a genocide.

James Cameron’s “Avatar” grossed a further $908,000, bringing its China sales in the month since its March 12 re-release up to $56 million.

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