Not only are there currently three animated features in the top 10 of the U.S. box office weekend, there are also three animated features in China’s box office leaders, and what’s more, three completely different films than the ones currently ruling in America.
In its fourth weekend, the hand-drawn/CG hybrid Big Fish & Begonia, directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, grossed $1.2 million. The film has earned $83 million throughout its run, a success story for an animated feature that cost under $5 million to produce. In fact, the film has outearned many of the major Western animated features released in China this year, including Finding Dory ($38.1m) and The Angry Birds Movie ($75.9m).
Launching in fourth place this week with $5.3 million was Yugo & Lala 3 (Shen Mi Shi Jie Li Xian Ji) directed by Wang Yunfei. It’s the third film in the Chinese CGI franchise that follows the adventures of a 10-year-old girl Yugo and her white liger pal, Lala, in an alternate universe ruled by animals.
The first film in the series, which debuted in 2012, was a surprise hit, especially considering that it was based on an original concept and not rooted in an existing series, like the popular Boonie Bears films which are based on a popular TV series.
Yugo & Lala 3 was produced at ITS Cartoon, where Yunfei is the studio’s general manager and also directed last year’s Kwai Boo: Crazy Space Adventure.
Here is the trailer for the latest Yugo & Lala:
The third film in the top ten was the Japanese import Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Nippon tanjou (Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan 2016), the 36th film in the franchise (don’t complain about five Ice Age films). Doraemon took fifth place (its second weekend in China’s top ten) and has grossed $14.5 million in China to date. The film brought in around $35m during its Japanese release in March.
But for every successful animated feature in China, there are also some clunkers. Bobby the Hedgehog (aka Spiny Life) grossed less than $1 million in its debut last weekend (July 22-24). The film, about a selfish and reckless hedgehog with “a lot of panache,” was directed by Jian Ming Huang at Daysview Digital Image.
Another children’s film, Shao Nian Shi Ye Zhi Da Yu Bao Zang, also released last weekend, didn’t even crack the top ten. Here’s the trailer for that film directed by Xiao Zhihui and Chen Lingchao at Zhejiang Teliyu Animation Entertainment: