China Box Office: Ning Hao's NO MAN'S LAND Stakes Claim On Charts
Originally shot in 2010, Ning Hao's darkly comic story of a struggling lawyer (Xu Zheng) who becomes embroiled in a bizarre caper when he journeys to a remote desert community, has only now seen the light of day after four years of tinkering to appease the Chinese censors. Audiences were happy to wait, it seems, as No Man's Land scored an impressive RMB133million in its first 6 days on release. Gordon Chan's fantasy sequel The Four 2 also had a strong opening, netting RMB86million in its first 3 days, almost as much as Benny Chan's starstudded thriller The White Storm managed in its first full week in cinemas.
All three films performed well enough to push previous Hollywood title rivals Gravity and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire into fourth and fifth place respectively, and the former has now crossed the RMB400million mark in under three weeks. Thor: The Dark World and Escape Plan continue to keep their places in the Top 10, and the week's only other new release to make any kind of impact in the chart is UK crime thriller Welcome to the Punch. The film, which pits James McAvoy against Mark Strong, managed a modest RMB4million in its opening weekend, but was enough to see it claim 8th place in the charts.
This week sees another crop on local product hitting screens, and the smart money will be on Andy Lau cleaning up with his latest action thriller, Firestorm, which opens in both 3D and 2D on 12 December, a week before it arrives in Hong Kong. What will be more interesting is to monitor the staying power of No Man's Land, and whether or not it will grow into a legitimate box office success.