Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid on Friday became the highest-grossing movie ever in China. Coming off of a Lunar New Year debut February 8 that saw it break records for first-day gross of a Mandarin-language film, the estimated 2.49B yuan ($382M) box office through Friday takes it past last year’s Monster Hunt, at about 2.43B yuan, and Furious 7 at just under that. What’s extraordinary here is that the movie did it in just 12 days. F7 made its fortunes ($380.67M at the time) in a 30-day run while Monster Hunt limped to its finish in 58. That came amid reports of box office manipulation. The Mermaid has seen no such criticism and is expected to become the first $400M grosser ever in the Middle Kingdom this weekend.
The Mermaid is handled Stateside by Sony, which released Friday and also has other offshore markets. It reunites Sony with director Chow after their partnership on the 2005 release of Kung Fu Hustle via Sony Pictures Classics. Sony is also handling Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. On opening day in Singapore, the film was the highest grossing Sony release for a Chinese title with $838K while in Malaysia it was the highest grossing opening day of all time for a Chinese-language film at $528K. During the recent EFM, IM Global closed a raft of further offshore deals.
Kicking off at the start of the Chinese holiday gave this film fins. The story tells the tale of a mermaid who falls for the evil business tycoon she’s been sent to seduce and assassinate. Deng Chao, Jelly Lin, Kitty Zhang, Show Lo, Tsui Hark, Kris Wu, Wen Zhang, Lu Zhengyu, Lee Sheung-ching, Chiu Chi-ling, Zhang Mei’e and Yang Neng star.
Chow’s last effort, 2013’s Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, was also a smash at $197M.