'A little Red Flower' tops China's weekly box office



After stumbling in the first half of 2020 because of the COVID-19 fallout, China's box office ended the year on a high note and welcomed 2021 with a bang.

Last week (December 28, 2020 - January 3, 2021), theaters in the Chinese mainland reeled in 2.1 billion yuan ($324 million), nearly double the revenue of the week before, according to data from Chinese film ticketing platform Maoyan. On New Year's Day, the domestic box office set a new record for single-day revenue with 599 million yuan ($92 million), led by the strong performance of two new titles.

Chinese feature film "A Little Red Flower" has dominated the box office since its debut on December 31, grossing over 800 million yuan ($123 million) so far. Co-starring Jackson Yee (Yiyang Qianxi) and Liu Haocun, the film reeled in over 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) in pre-sales a week before it premiered, making it one of the most anticipated films in the New Year box office season.

Directed by Han Yan, the film tells the touching story of two families battling cancer. It is Jackson Yee's second leading role after "Better Days," which will represent the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in the Best International Feature Film category at the 93rd Academy Awards in April.

Poster of the film "A Little Red Flower." /CFP

Coming in second was Chinese comedy "Warm Hug," which came out on the same day as "A Little Red Flower," with over 523 million yuan ($80 million). The romantic comedy is the directorial feature debut of Chang Yuan, a crosstalk performer-turned-actor who gained fame thanks to his role in the 2015 sleeper hit "Goodbye Mr. Loser" and casts actress Li Qin in her first role on the silver screen.

Shen Teng and Ma Li are also reunited in the new work. The comedians have gained nationwide popularity after co-starring in several blockbusters in recent years, including "Goodbye Mr. Loser" in 2015 and one of the five short stories of the 2020 anthology "My People My Homeland."

Actor Chang Yuan (L) and actress Li Qin (R) meet the audience at a cinema in Shanghai, January 1, 2021. /CFP

Chinese action crime thriller "Shock Wave 2" ranked third after garnering about 402 million yuan ($62 million) last week. Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Herman Yau, the film is a sequel to the 2017 eponymous hit "Shock Wave." It stars veteran actors Andy Lau and Lau Ching-wan as bomb disposal technicians.

Pixar's new animation "Soul" continues to charm China, having pulled in over 177 million yuan ($27 million) since its debut on Christmas. It is the only foreign film to capture a spot in China's top 5 box office hits in the past two weeks. The movie is directed by award-winning American animator and director Pete Docter, who is known for the animated films "Up" and "Inside Out."

(Cover photo designed by Qu Bo)