China Box Office: ‘The Lion King’ Pounces as Ticket Sales Slump

Variety | 7/15/2019 | Rebecca Davis
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Disney’s “The Lion King” has pounced on the China market — a week ahead of its U.S. release — with a $53.8 million three-day debut that gave it pride of place at the Chinese weekend box office. But the win came against a field of competitors so dismal that the fourth top-performing title hasn’t even had its official premier yet, and amid a drop of nearly 5% in the country’s total year-to-date box office compared to last year.

The downward slide in theatrical earnings is part of an increasingly sluggish overall economy, with official data revealing Monday that Chinese economic growth slowed to its weakest pace in nearly three decades in Q2. Chinese GDP expanded by just 6.2 %, down from 6.4% in Q1 and from 6.6% in 2018.

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“The Lion King” saw a China opening day of $13 million (RMB89.5 million) and $490,000 (RMB3.4 million) in midnight screenings, according to the Maoyan data app — exceeding the Friday openings of both 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” and 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” which earned $12.4 million and $11.6 million in China, respectively.

That means that, in 72 hours, “The Lion King” has already out-earned Disney’s other two live-action remakes released in China this year, pushing past “Aladdin’s” $53.5 million in May and “Dumbo’s” $21.9 million in March. Maoyan forecasts that the Jon Favreau-directed film will go on to earn $166 million (RMB1.14 billion) over the course of its China run. This would make it Disney’s most successful live-action title in the territory.

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The original movie was the first animated film to receive a wide release in China, and the country’s first imported animated title, when it hit theaters there in 1995. Given the nascent state of the Chinese box office at that time, it made just $5 million. While perhaps less familiar to viewers...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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