"Soul" "Soul"

Last week, when Pixar’s Soul opened in China to a solid but unspectacular $5.5 million, we predicted that strong word of mouth could buoy the film as it continued its run. So it has proved.

Pete Docter’s ambitious metaphysical dramedy took $13.7 million in its second weekend in the country — a 149% increase on its debut. It came fourth at the box office, behind three local titles, but did far better than Studio Ghibli’s 2008 feature Ponyo, which opened in China this weekend to $1.6 million. (The Japanese studio’s films are receiving a gradual, belated roll-out in the country, years after most Chinese audiences have already seen them through unofficial sources.)

Overall, the Chinese box office soared this weekend, hitting $199 million according to consultancy Artisan Gateway. Some sources are marking this as China’s highest-ever New Year’s Day weekend.

Chinese audiences are loving Soul, which is currently scoring 9.5, 9.3, and 8.9 out of 10 on the Maoyan, Tao Piaopiao, and Douban platforms. The film has taken $25.5 million in the country so far, and could well become the second-highest-grossing Pixar release in China, surpassing Incredibles 2 ($51.5 million). But it will have to work very hard to overtake Coco’s spectacular $189 million.

Soul also held strong elsewhere, increasing its gross in almost every market where it is playing theatrically (including Singapore, Ukraine, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam). Its global cume stands at $32.5 million. The film is only hitting theaters in territories where Disney+ doesn’t operate.

China also remains the biggest market for The Croods: A New Age, which has had its run extended in the country. The Dreamworks sequel has now taken $52.5 million there and $34.5 million domestically, as part of its $115 million global cume.

In the U.S. it was released on PVOD on December 18, topping charts on key platforms Apple TV, FandangoNow, and Google Play. We don’t know how many views that translates to — when it comes to streaming, distributors aren’t in the habit of systematically publishing this kind of data. For the same reason, Soul’s performance on Disney+ remains a mystery.

Over in Japan, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train claimed the top spot at the box office for the 12th weekend in a row. By this point, the manga spin-off doesn’t have much left to prove at home — it has overtaken Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away as the highest-grossing film of all time in the country. Funimation and Aniplex of America will give it a U.S. release early this year.

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