A poster for "Project Gutenberg". (Photo: VCG)
Domestic movies have again dominated the box office during China's 2018 National Day holiday. But unlike last year, when box office figures reached 2.7 billion yuan (390 million US dollars), this year saw a dramatic decline.
During the Golden Week from September 30 to October 7, the mainland box office earned 1.9 billion yuan (275 million US dollars). It's a lot for one week, but is still down 27 percent compared to 2017 figures. That's according to Mtime, one of China's biggest online ticketing platforms. Eleven movies from genres such as action, animation, comedy to fantasy were competing for viewers over the week-long holiday.
The biggest winner was Chinese mainland-Hong Kong co-production "Project Gutenberg", which earned 683 million yuan (100 million US dollars).
Starring Hong Kong actors Chow Yun Fat and Aaron Kwok, the movie surpassed the highly anticipated comedy "Hello, Mrs. Money" and Zhang Yimou's "Shadow" to reach the top spot by its third day after release.
Mahua FunAge's "Hello, Mrs. Money" failed to live up to expectations. It took only 515 million yuan (almost 75 million US dollars), landing in second place.
Coming in third was Zhang Yimou's period movie "Shadow", which pulled in 453 million yuan (66 million US dollars).
Wang Wenliang, duty manager of one of the busiest cinemas in Beijing, UME in Shuangjing, said the box office decline was due to the poor quality of the comedy movies released during the holiday: "Nowadays many moviegoers prefer comedies, but 'Fat Buddies' and 'Hello, Mrs. Money' released this holiday failed the expectations of many viewers due to its poor quality, even though they gained high box office sales in their first few days. Zhang Yimou's period movie 'Shadow' is of high quality. However, it's not so acceptable for many viewers, as they say it's hard to follow the plotline. "
Despite the decline in the holiday movie market, many moviegoers believe the quality of Chinese movies is improving. This encourages them to choose domestic productions.
Comedy "Fat Buddies" earned 198 million yuan (29 million US dollars), to take fourth place.
Drama "Lost, Found" was the highest-ranked new release. It pulled in 59.7 million yuan (8.6 million US dollars) in three days for fifth place.