The latest smash-hit from actor-producer Aamir Khan, ‘Superstar’ is the first Indian film to score a revenue-sharing release under China’s quota system, which is usually reserved for Hollywood imports.
India’s Aamir Khan remains a king of the Chinese box office.
The Bollywood actor’s latest international hit, musical drama Secret Superstar, opened in first place with $27 million, outshining 20th Century Fox new release Ferdinand and Sony’s Jumanji in its second weekend.
Khan’s family sports drama Dangal set an all-time record for a non-Hollywood release in China last year, earning a historic $193 million.
Superstar won’t reach those heights, but its predecessor’s huge success gave Khan and his partners the leverage necessary to secure a revenue-sharing quota release with China Film Group, granting the producers a 25 percent slice of all ticket sales — a concession usually extended only to high-earning Hollywood titles. Smaller international films typically are sold to Chinese distributors for a flat fee upfront, occasionally with additional backend baked-in if the film hits pre-determined performance benchmarks.
Local period romance Forever Young, meanwhile, held onto second place in its second frame, adding a healthy $23.4 million and lifting its 10-day total to $68.3 million, according to data from EntGroup. The film stars local favorites Zhang Ziyi and Huang Xiaoming.
Ferdinand scored third with $8.7. After opening in 58 markets the Carlos Saldanha-directed 3D animation — which tells the story of a pacifist bull who refuses to enter the bullfighting ring — has brought in $155.7 million.
Lionsgate’s heartwarming family drama Wonder opened just a step behind with $8.6 million. And Sony’s Jumanji added $7.7 million, a rather steep slide from its $40 million opening. The Dwayne Johnson tentpole’s China total stands at $66.4 million.
A Better Tomorrow 4, the latest sequel in the action crime franchise started by John Woo, misfired with just $6.30 million in its opening weekend.
Chinese-Australian co-production Guardians of the Tomb, starring Li Bingbing, Kellan Lutz and Kelsey Grammer, fared even worse, opening to just $6.1 million. The horror flick is co-produced by Australia’s Arclight Film and China Film Group, among others, and directed by Kimble Rendall. The story follows a team of scientists who battle against giant, man-eating spiders. It has been hit with particularly harsh word of mouth, scoring just 3.9/10 from reviews site Douban and 6.6/10 from ticketing service Maoyan.
And far, far away from the rest the of the pack, Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star War: The Last Jedi sputtered into its third weekend with just $910,000, bringing its total to a disappointing $41.3 million. The film has earned considerably more in the much smaller individual markets of Europe — $107.4 million in the U.K., $77.7 million in Germany and $60.2 million in France — underscoring just how little interest the Chinese audience has in the Star Wars franchise compared to the West.