The Lion King Rises To $35M In China Through Saturday

SATURDAY UPDATE: Disneys The Lion King had a majestic Saturday in China, adding an estimated $21M for a 50% increase over Friday. That lifts the two-day cume to about $35M. These are early estimates that point to an FSS launch in the low $50Ms, a nice start for the Jon Favreau-directed title, and falling within the range of pre-weekend projections. It would also just top Favreaus last CGI/live-action outing, The Jungle Book, which bowed to $49M in the Middle Kingdom.

Concerns that The Lion King would be pricked by a surprise local title in China abated today as afternoon previews for that film, Looking Up, were in the $2M-$3M range. That Deng Chao drama will continue previews through to Thursday when it opens in earnest. It could have more of an impact on Lion Kings second session.

With an opening weekend in the $50Ms, Lion King will also top Beauty And The Beasts start of $45M in 2017. Social scores remain solid at a 9 on Maoyan and a 7.5 on Douban. Maoyan is predicting a finish in the $154M range.

Further updates to come on Sunday…

PREVIOUS, FRIDAY: Disneys The Lion King roared off to a $14.5M start in China on Friday (including Thursday night previews). This is a terrific launch for the CGI/live-action adaptation of the classic 1994 animated picture and is better than the opening days of comps The Jungle Book ($11.6M) and Beauty And The Beast ($12.4M). Social scores on Lion King are good, and there is reason to expect that the Jon Favreau-directed movie feeds off of those to best the adjusted weekend debuts of TJB ($49M) and BATB ($45M). Lion Kings Maoyan note is currently at 9, higher than the above films, with a 7.5 on Douban, landing in between the two.

However, early projections of a $50M-$60M weekend now look to be coming in at the lower end of the range (yet still brushing up against the lifetime of the recent Aladdin live-action version). Could that be impacted by the surprise addition of previews on a local title that kick off on Saturday?

Lion King pre-sales for Saturday look healthy, but the Middle Kingdom has potentially thrown a wrench into the equation: I understand that local title Looking Up has been granted preview showings from tomorrow (Saturday) through Wednesday, ahead of its official bow on Thursday.

Sources Ive spoken with are mixed on the effect this may have. Some see little to worry about, while others are cautioning that exhibitors may be encouraged to toss screens the way of the local title.

The Chinese summer has been flipped upside-down this year with Hollywood taking pride of place during the typical July blackout on imports. As weve noted before, this is believed due to a confluence of issues including a slowdown in local production triggered Read More – Source

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