Jiang Ziya has grossed $96.7 million during the first two days of its China release. On Thursday — opening day — it earned more in one day than any previous animated feature in China.
On Thursday, the mythological epic grossed an estimated USD$52.8 million (359 million yuan) with 8,806,297 admissions. It added an extra USD$43.9 million on Friday from 7,443,813 admissions. That would be notable at any time. In a pandemic, it’s remarkable.
The film’s one-day Thursday tally is more than what Disney’s Mulan remake has taken in its first 21 days in China ($40.7 million). And it’s not too far from what Warner Bros.’s Tenet has grossed there in 28 days ($65.6 million). All box office figures are taken from Entgroup.
The one-day animation record for an animated film in China was previously held by Ne Zha, which went on to gross around $720 million in China. Jiang Ziya, which is about the adventures of a mythological army commander, is a follow-up to Ne Zha. The two features have launched what their producers Beijing Enlight Pictures term the “Fengshen Cinematic Universe,” which will draw on Chinese history and legend in more films to come.
Deadline reports that the film is also setting Imax records: “On Thursday, the IMAX China total of $4.5M on 663 screens marked the biggest opening day ever for an animated film in the format, the best single-day IMAX box office during the holiday and the top Q4 launch day ever for IMAX in the Middle Kingdom. In total, Enlight’s Jiang Zia [sic] has an IMAX gross of $8M through two days, good for 8.5% of the nationwide cume.”
China’s theaters closed in January in response to the coronavirus, knocking Jiang Ziya off its initial release date. After a false start in March, they started properly reopening in July, operating at reduced capacity. Last weekend, seating restrictions were eased to 75%.
Overall, yesterday marked the biggest single-day tally of the year for the Chinese box office, at $107 million. This isn’t surprising, as the day was a holiday twice over: the Mid-Autumn Festival and the first day of the week-long National Day vacation. The top eight films on the box office rankings are all domestic productions; Tenet came in ninth.
Jiang Ziya was also released yesterday in some overseas territories, including North America, where it is distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. The total gross for all films over the last three-day period at the North American box office was a mere $9.26 million.