Stephen Chow's THE MERMAID becomes highest grossing film ever in China

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Did you also who look at the trailer for Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, and go “HOLY WTF?”. Well, what you should have been saying is “CHA-CHING!” (And no, that’s not a thinly veiled racist joke) because in just two weeks since opening in China, the Hong Kong actor/writer/director’s latest cinematic spectacle has gone to become the highest grossing movie in the Asian country’s history.

Variety reports that after ending up top on the China box office charts for the second week running, it had earned a total $415 million in 14 days, beating the previous records set by Monster Hunt and Furious 7 last year. And it’s not slowing down one bit, as early estimates reckon that this coming weekend will see it becoming the first Chinese film in history to exceed the half billion dollar mark.

And that will just be the latest in the list of records that the fishy fantasy adventure has broken thus far:

  • Biggest opening day for a Chinese film ($40.9 million)
  • Biggest opening week of all time in China ($275.1 million) – overall third biggest in history behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World
  • Fastest film to earn CN¥1 billion ($152.4 million) in just 4 days
  • Biggest 5-day gross in China ($187.3 million)
  • Biggest 7-day gross in China ($275.1 million)
  • Biggest local opening in Hong Kong (HK$4.96 million) –  beating Chow’s own record-holder Kung Fu Hustle

The Mermaid, along with fellow box office entries From Vegas to Macau III ($119 million) and The Monkey King 2 ($116 million), all contributed greatly to also break the Guinness World Record for the biggest box office week in history with a combined $548 million for February 8 – 14, 2016. Outside of China, the film also did great solid business, with its US release being of particular interest.

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Usually the US would have to wait a considerable amount of time to get a Chinese release, but Sony pushed The Mermaid Stateside this Friday past, just a week after its Chinese opening. It was in very limited numbers though, opening in just 35 theatres, but the film made $1.015 million from that small opening for a $29,000 per theatre average. That was actually the highest average of all the movies at the US box office this weekend past, including current behemoth Deadpool. What makes this even more impressive is that the film received practically zero marketing push in America prior to release.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Chow’s work (Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle are two of my favourite “martial arts” movies of all time) and it seems that my fellow fans in the States were just as eager to see The Mermaid as I was. The movie has been receiving almost entirely positive reviews thus far, so it appears that Chow yet another commercial and critical hit on his hands.

You can check out the two trailers for the film below, not that they will make much sense though.

Last Updated: February 24, 2016

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Now I really want to watch this

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