It will be Zhang Yimou’s year at the Chinese box office. The 26th feature film from the venerable 73-year-old director: crime drama Under the light, topped ticket sales over the past four days during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, opening to $62.6 million, according to Artisan Gateway data. This comes after Zhang’s previous feature, the historical mystery thriller Full river red (2023) dominated China’s previous major release period, January’s Lunar New Year, with a whopping $673 million – the country’s biggest gross this year and the sixth biggest of all time. Local ticketing app Maoyan is currently predicting Under the light to earn between $250 million and $300 million before the run is completed, which would put Zhang close to the $1 billion mark for total ticket sales in 2023.
However, the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend was not without some tough competition. The sequel to Huayi Brothers Media’s comedy franchise The ex-files 4: Marriage plan came in second with $54.3 million, while Chen Kaige’s propaganda epic about the Korean War The volunteers: to war debuted to $34.7 million. The crime action film by Herman Yau and Andy Lau Operation Moscow opened to $23.2 million and sports comedy Lose to wina remake of a popular Spanish film, grossed $7 million.
The only new US release on the market, Paramount/Spin Master’s Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, which won the weekend in North America with $23 million, got off to a somewhat lackluster start in China amid all the local competition. It opened to just $5.3 million, but strong social scores should see it make it through the rest of the holiday season quite well. Maoyan predicts the company will make nearly $15 million, which would be an improvement over the $12.8 million the first company took in. Paw patrol film in early 2022.
Further down the charts is Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer continues to achieve modest sales a full month after its local launch. The local regulators granted the film a 30-day extension. Some 34 days after its release, Oppenheimer’s total is $63.7 million, according to daily data from media company Entgroup.