`The Mermaid' Sets China Box-Office Record at $417 Mln

Stephen Chow And Lin Yun Promote

Stephen Chow and Lin Yun promotes new movie 'The Mermaid.'

Photographer: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
  • Director Stephen Chow's comedy gets $417 million in two weeks
  • China's cinema market on track to overtake U.S. as largest

The Mermaid” surpassed last summer’s “Monster Hunt” as the biggest-grossing movie ever in China, where box-office revenue is surging almost 40 percent a year.

The madcap love story of a mermaid who falls in love with a real estate tycoon she’s sent to assassinate had gross revenue of 2.72 billion yuan ($417 million) in the two weeks since opening for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, exceeding the record held by “Monster Hunt,” according to data by Entgroup Inc.

Comedian-turned director Stephen Chow’s hit extends the dominance of China-made films at box offices across the country, even as Hollywood courts Chinese audiences and investment for global expansion. Among the 20 biggest all-time box-office hits in China, only six were made outside the country.

“The Mermaid” is the second China-made film in a row to capture the box office record after “Monster Hunt” surpassed “Fast and Furious 7,” the action-driving film series starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson, at the top ranking.

China’s movie market is growing at a compound rate of 37 percent per year and will surpass the U.S. to become the largest by 2017, according to an estimate in a Feb. 5 report by Alibaba Group’s dianying.taobao.com and H. Brothers Research.

(Corrects description of film in second paragraph.)
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