'Monster Hunt' breaks Chinese box office record

Xinhua, July 27, 2015

Live-action animation "Monster Hunt" has become the most successful Chinese film of all time, the country's entertainment watchdog said Sunday.

A poster of "Monster Hunt" [Photo/mtime.com] 

According to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, Monster Hunt had raked in more than 1.268 billion yuan in box office by Sunday, just ten days after its public launch on July 16.

Previously, China's box office record is held by "Lost in Thailand," a 2012 low-budget comedy directed by local director Xu Zheng, followed by Hong Kong writer-director Stephen Chow's 2013 adventure comedy "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons."

A sequel to the new blockbuster is already in the works.

Director Xu Zheng on Sunday congratulated "Monster Hunt"'s success, posting on his Sina Weibo microblog a picture showing a crowned Huba - the name of the monster in the new box office champion - dancing on top of his iconic shaven head.

"Records are set to be broken," the posting read, "Go ahead, Chinese movies."

Directed by Raman Hui, the Hong Kong animator known as the father of Hollywood blockbuster series "Shrek", "Monster Hunt" tells a story of a young man who creates a monster by accident. Its star-studded cast includes Jing Boran, Bai Baihe, Yao Chen, Tang Wei, Eric Tsang and Sandra Ng.

Initial prospects for the movie did not look good after its original lead, Taiwanese actor Kai Ko, was involved in a drug scandal. Kai Ko was arrested along with Jackie Chan's son Jaycee Chan for taking narcotics in August 2014, and the movie was re-shot with a new leading actor.

But box office figures beat expectations by surprise.

The movie took in 171 million yuan on the first day of screening, 300 million by day two, and 500 million by day three, setting the opening-day and single-day records of a local film.

Analysts expect box office figures to continue to grow in the coming weeks.

China is the world's second-largest film market. The box office totaled 20.4 billion yuan in the first half of 2015, according to SARFT. Domestic films raked in a very respectable 9.5 billion yuan, compared to foreign movies which grossed a total of 10.8 billion yuan.