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‘Free Guy’ Heading To No. 1 Weekend Spot In China As Hollywood Movies Return

After a two-month blackout period in China for Hollywood movies, Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy is looking to lead all pics in the country at the weekend B.O. with a $18M+, possibly $20M take. That’s a promising start for one of the first big movies from Hollywood after a long-hiatus, besting the $15M opening weekend of A Quiet Place Part II, and the $7.8M first weekend of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.

The Shawn Levy-directed pic, off a very good Maoyan 9.2 score (Deadpool 2 7.6), a TPP of 9.0, and solid Douban of 7.8, has cashed in a first day of $5.4M.

With Covid conditions improving in China, the number of theaters closed has shrunk from 31% to 27%. We also hear that in low-risk areas, cinemas are operating at 75% capacity.

Heading into the weekend, the Ryan Reynolds movie has grossed $130.3M globally, split between $65.7M domestic (No. 1 through two weeks) and $64.6M international.

‘Avatar’ Is King Of The Weekend With $21M In China; All-Time Global Record Now $2.81B – International Box Office

UPDATE, writethru: As we first reported yesterday, James Cameron’s Avatar is again king of the all-time worldwide box office, having snapped the title back from Avengers: Endgame thanks to a very robust China reissue this session. The full three-day frame in the Middle Kingdom is estimated at $21.1M, also giving the sci-fi epic bragging rights to being the weekend’s global and international box office leader. The overseas gross is now an estimated $2,050.3M with $2,810.8M worldwide.

Avatar was originally released in China in January 2010 and made $203M, a huge sum at the time before the market’s exponential expansion. That the current weekend generated such activity — particularly given authorities decided to release it with only a few days’ advance notice — bodes well for the continued current run as well as the upcoming sequels which Disney has scheduled beginning with Avatar 2 in December 2022.

The current China re-release represents the highest reissue opening weekend in the market since movie theaters returned last July. While Friday’s gross was $3.5M, Saturday jumped a massive 161% with Sunday dipping just 2% from there. Avatar currently leads pre-sales in China through next Thursday. Maoyan is predicting an RMB 398.2M ($61.2M) run for the reissue, which would bring it close to Tenet’s China gross last year. Also in China, New Year hits Hi Mom and Detective Chinatown 3 have respectively cumed $807M and $687M.

In IMAX, Avatar grossed $6.2M, accounting for 30% of the nationwide weekend from only 1% of screens (nine of the top 10 cinemas showing the movie were IMAX locations). This extends Avatar’s lead as IMAX’s biggest movie ever with $249.5M. Back in 2010, the IMAX 3D release of Avatar made $24M from 14 China screens.

IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond noted today, “Avatar changed everything for IMAX — catapulting our brand into the stratosphere and putting us on the map in China — and we’re grateful to help James, Jon (Landau), and this watershed film further cement their place in cinematic history. Yet again, Chinese moviegoers are demonstrating the pent-up demand for theatrical blockbusters that awaits cinemas around the world as they reopen, and IMAX continues help lead the recovery of the global movie business.”

Also big for IMAX this session was Japanese anime Shin Evangelion which set a new opening day record for the format in Japan last Monday. Across the first seven days, the franchise-ending film grossed $3.4M to place as the 2nd highest IMAX opening week for a local title in the market, behind the recent Demon Slayer. The full week was $30.6M (3.34B yen) with just this Saturday/Sunday repping $10.8M (1.18B yen) of the total.

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