“Aquaman,” Warner Bros.’ latest superhero blockbuster, torpedoed to a strong start in China on Friday, two weeks before its release in the U.S.
The film had raked in RMB 89 million ($12.9 million) on Friday by 5 p.m. Beijing time. Midnight screenings the night before brought in RMB 9 million ($1.3 million), making for a cumulative total of RMB 98 million ($14.2 million) within the first 17 hours, according to data from entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway.
That put it in a hugely comfortable first place with over 85% market share, ahead of Chinese crime thriller “A Cold Fish,” which has been a surprise hit and crossed $100 million today. U.S.-made survival tale “Adrift” was in third place with an estimated 2.5% market share. “Adrift” was released by STX Entertainment in North America, and in China is distributes by STX’s regular partner Huayi Brothers.
“Aquaman” swam into Chinese cinemas as another Hollywood tentpole, Sony’s “Venom,” is easing its grip on the box office. “Venom” has earned well over $250 million in less than a month, and has been granted a regulatory extension beyond the standard four weeks that most Hollywood films get in Chinese theaters.
While it’s doubtful that “Aquaman” can approach anything near that number, its opening-day performance and strong word of mouth could make it one of the most successful DC Comics titles in China. A $60 million opening weekend seems quite within range.
Starring Jason Momoa as a badass King of Atlantis, “Aquaman” is the latest in the DC Comics franchise by Warner Bros. The studio opted for an earlier release in China than in the U.S. in order to beat the crush of other Hollywood titles, including “The Grinch” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” that are set to open in the Middle Kingdom over the holiday period.
Other Hollywood holdovers currently in Chinese theaters include “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
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