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‘Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle’ Wins Weekend

Japanese animation film “Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle” took a clear lead at the mainland China weekend box office – despite only being available for two of three days.

Data from consultancy firm Artisan Gateway showed the film scoring $9.8 million (RMB69.4 million) in China, more than double that of second placed film “Be My Friend.” The win came despite “Haikyu!!” only being released on Saturday and measuring up against other tiles available throughout the whole of the Friday-Sunday period.

“Haikyu!!” is the third Japanese film so far this year to lead the mainland Chinese box office, following “The Boy and the Heron” and “Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Earth Symphony.”

It was produced by Production IG, Toho Animation and Sony Music Entertainment Japan and released by Crunchyroll in multiple territories. In China, the release was backed by China Film Corp and Road Pictures, the indie which previously handled “The First Slam Dunk” and “Suzume.” Road Pictures reported that $1.1 million of the new film’s weekend total came from Imax screens.

“Be My Friend,” a youth comedy film directed by He Nian and derived from a Chinese TV show of the same title, earned $4 million (RMB28.1 million), according to Artisan Gateway. That gives it a nine-day cumulative of $20.8 million (RMB148 million).

“Walk the Line” is a comedy crime tale directed by Wubai and focusing on the suppression of criminal gangs. In its second weekend of release, it earned $3.6 million. After nine days on release, it has accumulated $21.3 million.

Starring Sean Lau Ching-wan and Francis Ng, “Crisis Negotiators” is a Hong Kong-produced adaptation of U.S. title, “The Negotiator.” It took fourth place over the latest weekend with $2.7 million. Its cumulative is $17.6 million.

In fifth place was family comedy “Gold or Shit” that premiered in April at the Beijing International Film Festival and scooped prizes for best picture and best screenplay. Its box office performance is more mundane. It took $2.6 million over the weekend and now has a cumulative of $11.6 million.

The weak weekend nationwide theatrical total of $34.3 million suggests that China’s box office summer season has yet to begin. It remains to be seen if a crop of Hollywood movies will perform well in China. “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is set to open next weekend. “Deadpool & Wolverine” has been given a July 26 opening, simultaneous with its North American outing.

China’s box office so far this year stands at $3.21 billion, according to Artisan Gateway, making the Middle Kingdom the largest theatrical market to date in 2024. But that figure is now 3% lower than at the same point in 2023, and China’s lead over the North American market (calculated at $3.09 billion by Comscore) is shrinking.

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