China Box Office: Propaganda Flick ‘1921’ Hits No. 1 Off Previews

Star-powered propaganda flick “1921” hit number one at the Chinese box office this week, bringing in $11.6 million from pre-screenings ahead of its July 1 debut, according to Maoyan data.

The historical drama debuted earlier this month as the opening night title of the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival. Backed by Tencent Pictures and Shanghai Film Group, the film was created as a tribute to the country’s ruling Communist Party on the July 1 occasion of the 100th anniversary of its founding.

The drama is co-directed by Huang Jianxin (“The Founding of a Republic,” “The Founding of a Party”) and Zheng Dasheng. It features a long list of some 100 celebrities who star or appear in cameos as key figures in Communist party history,, including Liu Haoran (“Detective Chinatown 3,” TFBoy idol Wang Junkai, Ni Ni (“The Flowers of War”), and many others.

The second most popular title this weekend was the holdover Taiwanese rom-com “Man in Love.” It grossed a further $5.35 million to bring its cume up to $27.6 million. Starring Roy Chiu and Tiffany Hsu, it is an adaptation of a 2014 South Korean film of the same name. It depicts the story of an uneducated debt collector who falls in love with the daughter of an ill man he is trying to collect money from, and gives her the chance to pay off her father’s debt with dates.

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In third was new release “Between Us,” a Chinese music-themed romantic drama that opened to a $5.06 million three-day debut weekend, according to Maoyan. Directed by Zhao Yu, it stars Song Ningfeng and singer-songwriter Kelly Wenwen Yu, who was born in China but moved to Canada as a teen.

Columbia Pictures’ “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” hopped into fourth with a $3.5 million weekend, off just 9% for a local cume of $22 million, according to Sony.

Not far behind was comedic Chinese sports drama “On Your Mark,” directed by Malaysia’s Chiu Keng Guan and starring Wang Yanhui and Zhang Youhao. It grossed $3.3 million this weekend, according to Maoyan.

Disney’s “Cruella” grossed a further $1.93 million to hit sixth, with Maoyan noting its China cume is now up to $20.8 million of a predicted $23.6 million run.

Patriotic drama “Island Keeper,” inspired by a real-life couple who lived for decades alone on a inhospitable island to help maintain China’s territorial claims there, grossed $1.71 million this weekend to come in seventh.

Meanwhile, “A Quiet Place: Part II” grossed a further $1.06 million this weekend, bringing its China cume up to $38.6 million, and Oscar winner “The Father” grossed around $805,000 this weekend, bringing its China sales up to $2.82 million, according to Maoyan.

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