China Box Office: Audiences Ignored Communist Dictator, Ran To ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Which Opened To $45M
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast waltzed into the Middle Kingdom to a rousing $44.8 million over the weekend, despite China’s demand to censor the film. Bill Condon’s live-action update of the classic 1991 animated musical opened to $12.1 million on Friday with just under 100,000 showings, before climbing to $18.5 million on Saturday (102,700 showings) and $11.8 million on Sunday (100,856 showings), according to local box office tracker Ent Group. (Ent Group’s weekend total was slightly under Disney’s, at $42.6 million.)
In North America, the film opened to a massive $170 million for a $350 million global weekend opening. In China, the film also pulled in $3.4 million from 386 Imax screens.
Disney’s local marketing campaign for the film included a music video featuring local heartthrob Jing Boran (Monster Hunt) waltzing with Taiwanese pop singer Hebe Tien to a Chinese version of Alan Menken’s original Beauty and the Beast theme song. Targeted at China’s influential young female filmgoers — many of whom weren’t yet born when the original animation came out — the song has been viewed nearly 12 million times since its release three weeks ago on Tencent Video.
Notably, China’s censors left the film entirely untouched. In nearby Muslim-majority Malaysia, a state censorship board balked at what Condon has described as a three-second “gay moment” between male lead characters Gaston and his sidekick LeFou. After censors demanded the scene be cut, along with other material, Disney refused and delayed the film’s local release by one week, giving the Malaysian authorities a chance to reconsider.
Meanwhile, Logan hit $100 million, adding $6 million in its third frame. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter came in fourth, earning another $2.6 million for a $160 million total after 24 days in China.
Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island is expected to dominate screen shares when it lands in China on Friday.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Disney
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