China Box Office: ‘Dust to Dust,’ Low-Key Crime Thriller Wins Weekend

“Dust to Dust,” a low-key crime thriller, topped the mainland Chinese box office over the weekend, despite only being released on Saturday.

The film, directed by Jonathan Li, recounts how 21 years after a major armed robbery, a video of the crime resurfaces and causes the police to reopen their investigation. It had its world premiere in June, in competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

With Da Peng, a former talk show host, required to age significantly for the lead role, the film earned $22.2 million (RMB160 million) in just two days, according to consultancy Artisan Gateway. The film replaced “Oppenheimer” which had led the chart for the previous two (Friday-Sunday) weekends.

“Oppenheimer,” which has been an unusual hit in China, earned $9.6 million (RMB68.8 million) over the latest weekend, to achieve a cumulative of $47.2 million.

Giant screen provider, Imax reported that some $3 million of “Oppenheimer’s” weekend total came from its venues, giving a powerful Imax sub-total for the film of $14 million.

“No More Bets,” which emerged as the biggest hit of the summer season, slipped to third place and earned $7.7 million (RMB55.7 million). Since releasing on Aug. 8, it has now accumulated $520 million (RMB3.74 billion). (Some local data providers report a much higher cumulative figure, but appear to be using significantly out of date rates of exchange between the Chinese currency and the US dollar.)

“Creation of the Gods I,” which was released in July, held on to a top five chart place for the eighth weekend. It earned $3.4 million (RMB24.5 million) for a cumulative of $357 million (RMB2.57 million).
August release, “Papa” dropped to fifth place with $3.3 million over the weekend. Its cumulative now stands at $81.7 million (RMB588 million).

Artisan Gateway reports that the year-to-date box office in China now stands at $.08 billion. It calculates that as 76% ahead of the washout 2022 figure and less than 4% behind the equivalent running total at the same point in 2019.

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