Chinese box office: “Detective Vs Sleuths” rises to the top

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The Hong Kong-produced crime action movie “Detective Vs Sleuths” won top box office honors in mainland China in its second weekend of release. The release’s new title, “Mozart From Space” arrived in a disappointing second.

“Detective Vs Sleuths” earned $18.4 million (RMB 123 million) between Friday and Sunday, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was just a 20% drop from its opening weekend and bumps it to a 10-day cumulative of $58.8 million.

The film involves Wai Ka-fai, a writer-director who is also a longtime collaborator of Johnnie To, reteaming with actor Sean Lau (aka Lau Ching-wan), the star of 2007’s “Mad Detective.” The story sees Lau as a retired, stressed-out ex-cop on the trail of a serial killer, who seems to be packing the details into a series of cold cases.

“Mozart From Space” opened with $16.6 million (RMB 111 million). The film is a sci-fi comedy about an alien who lives with a father and son who rarely see each other together. Directed by Chen Sicheng, writer and director of the hit “Detective Chinatown” franchise films, it has the added benefit of starring veteran comedians Huang Bo (“Breakup Buddies” and the “Lost In” franchise) and Fan Wen ( “Cell Phone”) in the lead roles and Yao Chen (“Send Me to the Clouds”) in a supporting position.

“Lighting Up the Stars,” which had topped the box office for the previous three weekends, came in third place with a still strong gross of $16.2 million (RMB 109 million). That extends its tally to $210 million after nearly four weeks in theaters.

Far behind the top three, “Jurassic World: Dominion” grossed $2.9 million (RMB 19.1 million) in its sixth week of release in China. His cumulative now stands at an impressive $151 million.

The animated movie “Octonauts: The Caves of Sac Actun” grossed $1.5 million in its second weekend, which is enough for a cumulative $8.5 million.

Theaters across the country continue to open and close due to COVID restrictions, but this was the sixth weekend in a row that the total topped $50 million, more than double the average between March and May.

The final weekend total was $57.5 million. The year-to-date total is $2.82 million and, according to Artisan Gateway’s calculations, is 35% lower than the same date last year.

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