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‘YOLO,’ ‘Pegasus 2’ and ‘Boonie Bears’ Dominate Global Box Office Weekend as Chinese New Year Releases Earn $350 Million in Two Days

Four Chinese films dominated the global box office charts over the weekend, with combined takings of $350 million earned over just two days.

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And, as North America watched the Super Bowl instead, the weekend’s top Hollywood title, “Argylle” earned just $15.9 million worldwide.

Chinese titles eschewed their usual Friday release pattern and opened on Saturday, the first official day of the Lunar New Year holiday period in China and much of Asia.

Female-directed comedy drama “YOLO,” earned $113 million (RMB802 million), according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was narrowly ahead of car-racing comedy “Pegasus 2,” which earned RMB758 million or $107 million and was the bigger title on Saturday. “YOLO” is poised to release in international markets in the future, having recently been acquired by Sony.

In third place, both in China and worldwide, Chinese animation film “Boonie Bears: Time Twist” earned a stunning RMB443 million or $62.4 million. “Article 20,” a Zhang Yimou-directed comedy drama about the legal niceties of justified defense opened in fourth place in China, earning $47.5 million (RMB337 million) in two days.

Global box office tracking service ComScore reported largely similar estimates for the Chinese titles and said that Universal’s “Argylle” ranked fifth around the world. It scored $6.5 million between Friday and Sunday in the North American, or domestic, market and an additional $9.42 million in a further 81 international territories. “Argylle” has now accumulated $28.8 million in North America and $31.3 million from international territories for an aggregate cumulative to date of $60.1 million.

ComScore ranked Sony’s “Anyone But You,” Warner Bros.’s “Wonka” and Universal Pictures’ “Migration” in sixth, seventh and eighth places, respectively.

“Anyone But You,” playing in 51 territories globally, earned an estimated $2.7 million in North America and $9.7 million in international markets for a weekend worth $12.4 million. That advanced its cumulative total to $170 million. “Wonka,” still playing in 75 territories worldwide, earned $3.13 million in North America and $8.5 million in international markets, for a global cumulative since its December release of $588 million. “Migration,” playing in 80 territories, earned $3.02 million in North America and $6.72 million in the rest of the world. Its global aggregate now stands at $235 million.

“The Movie Emperor,” a dark satire on celebrity in the internet age, directed by Ning Hao and starring Andy Lau, opened fifth in China with a two-day opening weekend score of $7.9 million (RMB56 million), according to Artisan Gateway. Comscore ranked that performance as the ninth highest worldwide over the weekend, ahead of “Poor Things” with $7.7 million (comprising of $1.125 million in North America and $6.6 million from international).

Four Chinese titles delivered the bulk of Imax’s global revenues over the weekend. “Pegasus 2” earned $4.6 million of its takings on the company’s giant screens, while “YOLO” earned $3.6 million in Imax venues. “Boonie Bears: Time Twist” and “Article 20” shared a further $1.8 million.

Chinese dominance of the global charts, logically, could continue for several more days. The holiday season in mainland China continues through to the next weekend. And new release titles only start to arrive in international and North American markets from midweek.

Chinese ticketing agency Maoyan has revised its forecasts for performances in mainland China. It now predicts that: “YOLO” will achieve a lifetime score of RMB4.4 billion ($610 million); that “Pegasus 2” will earn RMB3.3 billion ($459 million); “Boonie Bears: Time Twist” could earn RMB2.3 billion ($320 million) and “Article 20” some RMB1.8 billion ($250 million).

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