UPDATE, SUNDAY AM writethru with additional detail: Having heated up the Chinese box office last weekend, Wolf Warriors 2 is biting at new milestones in its 2nd frame. Through Saturday, the Wu Jing-helmed and starring action film is at an estimated $406M (RMB 2.73B) after 10 days in release and based on local reporting. It’s surpassed The Fate Of The Furious ($393M/RMB 2.6B) to become the No. 1 movie in China this year and the No. 2 ever, all combined. Now it’s gunning for The Mermaid and her all-time record.
In its debut last session, WW2 tallied $141.8M from Thursday-Sunday, the 2nd biggest start of the year behind F8. At just over $125M for the FSS, it edged out 2016’s The Mermaid for the three-day. That film, which went on to be China’s top movie of all time with $527M (at historical rates), bowed on a Monday during the February blackout last year. It took $152.8M in the first four days and then had an FSS of $122.3M.
Also starring Frank Grillo and with an assist from the Russo brothers who consulted on the pic, Wolf Warriors 2 is the sequel to 2015’s actioner Wolf Warriors which grossed about $87M at home that year. Celina Jade and Hans Zhang also star. Wu’s character has been billed as a sort of Chinese Rambo, and the action sequences are earning praise.
Response from critics and audiences has been higher than on the original Wolf Warriors. On Douban, the story of a commando who heads to Africa to rescue Chinese nationals is at 7.6 versus the previous film’s 6.8. On Mtime, it’s at 7.5 versus 7.
It has overtaken the No. 2 Chinese movie ever, Monster Hunt, which grossed about $382M in 2015 (albeit under somewhat dubious circumstances). Scoring another RMB 660M to supplant The Mermaid‘s RMB 3.39B as the No. 1 movie ever in China appears assured given the firm holds and runway ahead. Local ticketing platform Maoyan is predicting a huge RMB 3.8B ($565M) finish.
Its last Saturday take of RMB 306.7M ($45.5M) was the second highest single-day ever for a domestic film and the sixth for any film at the mainland box office. This Saturday, it increased over 30%, liberating $59.6M (RMB 401M) with 143,882 screenings, per local research firm Ent Group.
Falling during the summer blackout kibosh on Hollywood imports this year, Wolf Warriors 2 (RMB 200M reported budget) is a much-needed boost for homegrown films at the Chinese box office which currently counts only two other local titles in the Top 10.
But let’s put this into a global perspective. The H Collective released Wolf Warriors 2 in the U.S. last weekend, taking $503K. Trinity Films, in partnership with Cine Asia and CMC Pictures, released it Friday in the UK and we’ll update those figures when they become available. In the meantime, while WW2 has beaten F8 in the home market, that doesn’t mean it’s translating abroad — a continuing bugaboo for Chinese movies. The Mermaid did about $27M outside the PROC. That’s a solid number for a contemporary release from the Middle Kingdom, but these films still have difficulty breaking out internationally. F8 is still the biggest import, and made over $1.24B worldwide.
Also opening this session in China is Once Upon A Time, a romantic fantasy that’s based on a book and a TV series. Wolf Warriors 2 topped it by a wide margin on Friday and Saturday. The current estimated cume on OUAT is $54M.
Wolf Warriors 2 currently has the 2nd biggest gross for a single territory in 2017. It’s ahead of Wonder Woman‘s projected North American haul through Sunday of $399.4M. Beauty And The Beast still reigns supreme with $504M domestically.
Director and star Wu told China Daily this week — which also marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese army — “As of now, China has few such military movies. We are still exploring the genre and hope to raise the bar.”
Here’s the trailer: