IMAX Corporation reported its best-ever opening weekend for the Chinese New Year holiday, grossing $25M through February 14th. Theaters are currently limited to 75% capacity across China, but IMAX saw a 45% increase over its record-breaking 2019. The influx of moviegoers can be pinned on “Detective Chinatown 3,” which was shot entirely with IMAX cameras. The action-comedy topped the charts with a $23.5M weekend, marking IMAX’s biggest three-day opening weekend ever for a Chinese film. The company also stated that Friday marked the first time that IMAX has recorded more than 1M admissions in a single day in any global market — China or otherwise.
“Given our recent success at the Chinese box office we suspected our fans would turn out for Chinese New Year in a big way, but these early returns have blown away even our most optimistic projections,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “With record-breaking box office, strong market share, and multiple releases Filmed In IMAX, this is an important milestone on our road to recovery at the global box office and our long, successful history in China.”
“Detective Chinatown 3” is the latest entry in the popular franchise initially slated to debut in the 2020 Chinese New Year holiday. “Detective Chinatown 3” now holds IMAX records for the biggest opening weekend and opening day for a Chinese film, as well as the biggest opening weekend and opening day for Chinese New Year. “Detective Chinatown 3” also holds the record in China for most IMAX admissions in a single day (Friday) with 975K. IMAX captured 6% of the film’s weekend box office, despite accounting for only 1% of overall screens. Chen Sicheng directed the film, starring Wang Baoqiang, Liu Haoran, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Tony Jaa, Masami Nagasawa, Shota Sometami, and Tadanobu Asano.
The Chinese New Year slate also featured “A Writer’s Odyssey,” which features more than an hour of IMAX exclusive expanded aspect ratio, and “New Gods: Nezha Reborn,” a new animated franchise.
“IMAX is on the leading edge of the strong box office recovery in China, with audiences emerging from the pandemic and seeking out the most immersive theatrical experience in the world,” Edwin Tan, CEO of IMAX China. “We’d like to congratulate our partners at Wanda, Huace Film, Light Chaser Animation, and Alibaba Pictures, and thank them for bringing these films to fans in The IMAX Experience.”