China Box Office: ‘Shock Wave 2’ Blasts Past ‘Soul,’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Rebecca Davis
·3-min read

Hong Kong’s “Shock Wave 2” out-earned “Wonder Woman 1984” in China in just two days, topping the local box office this weekend with a $51.4 million debut, according to data from Maoyan.

By the end of Christmas Day, “Shock Wave 2” had grossed $28.6 million (RMB187 million), more than the $23 million (RMB151 million) “Wonder Woman” had earned since Dec. 18.

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Its opening is nearly triple the Patty Jenkins-directed blockbuster’s China debut of $18.8 million last weekend, and more than 35 times the mere $1.46 million “Wonder Woman” managed to lasso this weekend to come in seventh at the box office.

Meanwhile in North America, “Wonder Woman” opened to $16.7 million from 2,100 cinemas, marking the best opening weekend to date for the region since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Shortly afterwards, the studio announced that it is now fast-tracking development on a third, concluding installment of the franchise that will bring back both director Patty Jenkins and leading lady Gal Gadot.

The $40 million-budgeted “Shock Wave 2” sees Herman Yau return to direct Lau in a standalone sequel to his 2017 “Shock Wave” alongside Sean Lau and Ni Ni (“Flowers of War”). Lau plays an ex-officer specialized in diffusing bombs who wakes from a coma after an explosion to find himself the lead suspect of the attack. The film was produced by Lau’s Hong Kong-headquartered Focus Films, Hong Kong’s Universe Entertainment Limited, and China’s Alibaba Pictures, among others.

It was trailed by the period fantasy film “The Ying-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity,” which came in second in China with a $34.3 million debut. Netflix acquired rights to the title outside of the mainland earlier this month, and plans to release it in the rest of the world on Feb. 5, 2021, just ahead of the Chinese new year holiday.

The new film from controversial Chinese director Guo Jingming was able to move ahead with its wide theatrical release despite a recent public letter from film industry colleagues calling for his erasure from Chinese show business due to past plagiarism offenses. Guo also this month released new work to streaming that previously featured the fallen actor Fan Bingbing, who has not yet managed a full come-back.

“Dream of Eternity” was produced by Hehe Pictures, ZUI, Thinkingdom Pictures, Shanghai Film Group and Black Ant Film. An adaptation of the popular 2001 book “Onmyoji” from Japanese novelist Baku Yumemakura, it tells the story of four top mages who must kill a powerful serpent demon after it wakes from a century-long slumber.

Dante Lam’s action film “The Rescue” came in third at the box office with sales of $9.86 million. It has earned a cumulative $64 million (RMB421 million) so far since it topped the box office last weekend, underperforming against expectations.

Pixar’s “Soul” opened Friday and came in fourth this weekend with a $5.5 million opening. Disney currently has no plans to launch its streamer Disney Plus in China, and so the country is the one of the only territories worldwide where the film will hit the big screen.

Written and directed by Pete Docter and featuring the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Daveed Diggs, and Tina Fey, the film has garnered rave reviews from local viewers on the Maoyan, Tao Piaopiao and Douban platforms, where it’s earned a 9.6, 9.5 and 9.1 out of 10, respectively.

Earlier this year, Pixar’s “Onward” grossed $10.3 million in China, while “Toy Story 4” earned $29 million in 2019.

In fifth was the new winter-set local rom-com “I Remember” starring Angelababy and Taiwan’s charming Lee Hong-Chi in a cliche-ridden story involving amnesia, which debuted Dec. 24.

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