The Lion King was no match for the animated feature Nezha, which launched its China box office run with $91.5 million, an all-time animation debut record in the country.
Nezha toppled the previous record for an animated film opening weekend – $66 million for Despicable Me 3 — and looks poised to challenge Disney’s Zootopia for the all-time Chinese animation record ($236 million). On Saturday, when Nezha earned $33 million, it claimed the single-day animation record in the country, which had previously been held by Zootopia ($25 million).
Directed and written by Yang “Jiaozi” Yu, Nezha is based on a well-known mythical figure from Chinese folk religion. Produced by Enlight Media, it’s also the first Chinese animated feature released in IMAX format. It picked up $7.7 million of its total earnings from IMAX screenings.