After a smooth start in China, Barbie began to break into the world’s second largest film market in its second frame, fueled by excellent critical scores and strong word of mouth.
Barbie opened to $8 million in China last weekend, claiming fifth place amid stiff competition from local hits Creation of the Gods I: Realm of Storms, chang an and Never say Never. The modest total seemed to suggest that Barbie I would go the way of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and a series of recent Hollywood tentpoles that opened weakly in China and showed no legs, fueling the trend that Chinese consumers were turning away from Western fare in the multiplex.
Unlike other recent Hollywood releases, Greta Gerwig scored excellently on China’s most respected movie apps when it premiered, scoring 9.4 on Maoyan, 9.3 on Tao Piao Piao and 8.6 on Douban. This, along with strong word of mouth from the public, has seen Chinese theaters increase the number of screens dedicated to the film, jumping from more than 9,000 at the opening to around 36,000 screens according to Maoyan’s data.
The increased number of screens has already made an impact with Barbie earning an impressive $7.3 million during its second weekend, a negligible drop, and the film’s total in China hit $25.5 million, according to figures from regional box office data company Artisan. Gateway.
And the next few weeks look more promising for Barbie, as the film has penetrated the discourse in China, something Hollywood movies rarely do these days. Chinese feminists flock to see the film and urge others to, both as an antidote to the usual patriotic male-oriented action film that dominates the box office in the country, but also because of the themes found in the movie. Notably, Barbie it has escaped China’s notoriously strict censors, despite the fact that the film tackles themes of feminism and toxic masculinity and features prominent LGBTQ+ characters.
Still, despite the good news, Barbie it probably won’t have the same impact at the box office in China as it does in other markets around the world. Maoyan still projects the film to top out at around $36 million for its run in China.
Elsewhere, historical fantasy epic Creation of the Gods I: Realm of Stormsthe first film of fengshen trilogy, won for the second week in a row, earning another $57.6 million, for a cumulative total of $155.5 million after two weeks of release. In second place was Da Peng’s comedy. One and only which debuted with $36.2 million. Rounding out the top five were the remnants chang an (in third place with $22.4 million) and Never say Never (in fourth place with $12 million).