A combination of the Lunar New Year holiday and one particular massive local blockbuster pushed the monthly box office in China to a record high in February, surpassing North America for the second time in history.
Chinese cinemas took in $1.05 billion in February, a 50% increase over the same period last year, whereas the U.S. box-office is coming in at just short of $800 million. Currently the world’s second-biggest theatrical market, China is closing the gap with North America and if the current rates of growth keep up it will become the world’s largest film market in early 2017.
The Chinese box-office was massively helped by Stephen Chow’s fish-out-of-water rom-com “The Mermaid” which generated a whopping $485 million over three weeks in February. The fantasy sequel “The Monkey King 2,” was also a big contributor – earning $178.1 million over three weeks, while Wong Jin’s comedy-action gambling sequel “From Vegas to Macau 3” made $167 million.