Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms topped China’s box office over the weekend with a decidedly less-than-festive $10.9 million opening haul. The downbeat performance from the pricy Disney holiday title wasn’t nearly enough to pull the Chinese film market out of its ongoing fall-season funk.
Total ticket sales for the frame were just $39.9 million (RMB 276.3 million), almost half of the $73.6 million the market generated during the same weekend last year, when Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok was filling Chinese cinema seats. Other data from leading Asian box-office tracker Artisan Gateway shows ticket sales in China down 33 percent in October compared to 2017.
Chinese critics have tended to share the same withering view of The Nutcracker as their U.S. counterparts: The film has a score of 6.1/10 on Chinese reviews aggregator Douban, and a 34 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Nutcracker‘s soft start represents a rare miss for Disney in China, which has a stellar recent release record in the country, as it does nearly everywhere. The film, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, cost a hefty $125 million to make, and opened to just $20 million in North America.
The Christmas-themed film is a live-action adaptation of the classic ballet and short story about a girl whose nutcracker doll comes to life. Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfayden, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren star, while American Ballet Theater ballerina Misty Copeland makes her big-screen debut.
Last week’s winner, 20th Century Fox’s The Predator slipped to fifth place with $3.3 million, a 81.2 percent slide. The film has earned approximately $27 million after two weekends.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Walt Disney
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