‘Pixels’ Misses High Score, China Sets Records with ‘Monster Hunt’ and ‘Monkey King’
Sony’s critically-reviled Adam Sandler vehicle Pixels was also rejected by audiences this weekend, opening in second place with $24 million (estimated). It’s a trivial amount for an animation/vfx-heavy film released during the height of summer.
Pixels generated an additional $25.4M internationally. It will be interesting to watch if Sandler’s toxic comedy brand combined with the weak launch of Pixels will have a negative impact on his next project, which is Sony’s animated feature Hotel Transylvania 2, coming out in two months.
Illumination’s Minions dropped one slot to third place with an estimated $22.1 million. The film had another significant weekend-to-weekend decline of 55%. The film has now grossed $261.6M in the United States, but the real story is abroad. Minions added another $44 million overseas, boosting its foreign cume to $497.8M. Globally the film has reached $759.4M. The film has held the number one slot in Germany, Austria, Argentina, and Chile for four consecutive weeks. Not to mention that Minions has yet to open in major territories like South Korea, Japan, and China, where it has been slotted for September 13.
After six weeks at the U.S. box office, Pixar’s Inside Out had a solid 7th place finish, adding an estimated $7.4M for a $320.3M total. The film added $28.3M internationally, lifting that total to $229.8M. Its global take is $550.1M, surpassing Brave and Wall-E. This week, it’ll overtake Cars 2 to become Pixar’s 7th highest-grossing film of all-time.
In China, their box office is now outperforming the American box office. Their top-grossing film of the week,the live-action/animation hybrid Monster Hunt, helmed by former DreamWorks/PDI animation director Raman Hui, earned a remarkable $46 million. It has now earned $211 million, making it the highest-grossing Chinese-produced film of all-time.
For more Chinese box office news, see below.
China has a new all-time animation box office champ…and it’s not an American animated film.
This weekend, Monkey King: Hero is Back, directed by Tian Xiao Peng, snatched the throne from China’s previous animation record holder, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2. According to China’s government-run news agency Xinhua, Monkey King had earned 620 million yuan (US$99.8 million) as of 4pm Saturday, topping Kung Fu Panda 2′s 617 million yuan gross from 2011. Monkey King opened on July 10, so it’s gross should still climb significantly.
The film is considered a huge victory for China’s box office, the world’s second-largest movie market, which for years has been trying to create an animated feature with cross-generational appeal akin to popular American studio imports.
SEE ALSO: Forget Minions, Monster Hunt and Monkey King Smash Chinese Box Office Records
Director Tian Xiao Peng credits the film’s success to its classic Chinese hero the Monkey King, reimagined as a down-and-out figure who is no longer invincible and must show relatable traits like perseverance and courage to find his way again. “Chinese people have their own values, which means we don’t need to follow the mindset of the West, especially that of the Hollywood,” Xiao Peng told Want China Times. “We used our own traditional stories to resonate with our audiences’ emotions, and technically we tell the story by means of the West.”
The film cost at least US$16 million to produce. A small amount of that — $113,000 — was raised through a crowdfunding program run by the Chinese government called “Internet Plus.”
DreamWorks will attempt to reclaim its box office throne when it releases Kung Fu Panda 3 in China next January. The film is part-Chinese made, with over 200 artists currently working on the movie at Shanghai’s Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture that is 45% owned by DreamWorks Animation.
Here’s a music video for the theme song of Monkey King: Hero is Back, followed by some posters for the film: