Local crime thriller Across the Furious Sea, directed and co-written by Cao Baoping, dominated China’s box office over the weekend with a $24.7 million two-day opening kicking off Saturday. The film’s strong start continues a recent market trend of Chinese moviegoers favoring well-told local crime stories.
But it was another weekend of struggle for Hollywood filmmaking in China. Disney Animation’s Wish opened in fifth place with only $3.5 million in ticket revenue, according to data from Artisan Gateway. Lionsgate’s prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, meanwhile, plummeted in its second frame, earning a little under $1 million. Disney’s The Marvels likewise continued its decline, slipping off of China’s top 10 list for the weekend (the film’s total sits at $16 million and it is unlikely to earn much more — making for an all-time low for an MCU tentpole).
Across the Furious Sea marks a long-coming culmination for Cao, who is highly esteemed in China but whose films are somewhat less traveled than those of other major directors of his generation. He has said he views Across the Furious Sea as the final film in a loose trilogy of crime thrillers. Unfortunately, the middle installment in this saga has been seen by almost no one.
Cao’s series got off to a strong start in 2015 with The Dead End, a crime drama starring Deng Chao that earned a healthy $47.6 million. His follow-up The Perfect Blue (aka She Kills) wrapped shooting in May 2018 but then ran into serious trouble when its co-star, Fan Bingbing, was detained by Chinese authorities in a major tax evasion scandal. Fan was eventually fined tens of millions of dollars and slapped with a de facto ban from appearing in mainland Chinese films and TV series. The Perfect Blue was a collateral industry casualty — the film never saw release in mainland China despite abundant curiosity and good buzz about its quality.
Cao finished shooting Across the Furious Sea in 2020, but the film took far longer than usual to find its way to theaters. China’s lengthy lockdowns during the pandemic were one factor, but some Chinese fans also speculated that the movie’s producers were probably hoping to gain permission to release The Perfect Blue prior.
Based on a Chinese crime novel of the same name, Across the Furious Sea is a murder mystery that centers on a father (Huang Bo) who vows revenge when his daughter is murdered while studying abroad in Japan. The story is complicated by the victim’s boyfriend and biggest suspect, who has escaped persecution by returning to China with the help of his mother (Zhou Xun). The movie has garnered strong social scores and Maoyan projects it to earn over $80 million.
Source : Yahoo