Lionsgate’s prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Over the weekend, the film opened in third place at China’s box office, losing to two local holdover films and grossing just $4.6 million. It’s just the latest disappointing performance from a US franchise film in the market.
songbirds and snakes has achieved low to medium social scores with Chinese audiences, and ticketing app Maoyan expects its total value to be only around $7 million at the end of its run.
songbirds and snakes opens eight years after the last Hunger Games Title played in theaters and 12 years after the first film hit the big screen. The previous four Hunger Games Films based on the dystopian young adult novels by Suzanne Collins and starring Jennifer Lawrence all performed significantly better in China than the new title. The hunger Games (2012) earned a total of $27 million The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) cost $28 million, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) grossed $36.5 million, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) earned $21.5 million.
But Lionsgate’s prequel isn’t the only tentpole US franchise making a splash in the big Chinese market. Disney’s The wonders, after losing its first weekend with an all-time low of $11.5 million at the Marvel Cinematic Universe launch, plummeted to sixth place in its second frame, taking in $1.4 million. Maoyan now predicts that the film, which cost an estimated US$200 million to US$250 million to produce, will only cost around US$15 million (RMB111 million).
Superhero films performed the most, but US studio franchises saw an overall decline in China this year. Universals Fast X holds the crown for Hollywood’s biggest film of 2023 in the country, with an opening cume of $51.1 million and a total of $140 million. And Transformers: Rise of the Beasts It opened at $40 million and peaked at $92 million. However, the early installments of both film series grossed significantly more, indicating a far-reaching franchise erosion effect for the studios in China.
Chinese crime thriller Who is the suspect? (also known as Final suspect) took first place over the weekend, winning the third frame in a row. It earned $10.6 million and has a total of $68.1 million to date. The film is directed by Zhang Mo, daughter of Chinese film legend Zhang Yimou. Produced by Beijing Dino Films, the thriller stars actress Zhang Xiaofei as a lawyer who is forced to defend a death row suspect after her daughter is kidnapped.
Alibaba’s domestic drama, Be my familyclimbed from third to second place, earning $4.8 million over the weekend for a total of $15.4 million.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is based on the book of the same name by Collins. It grossed $44 million at the domestic North American box office, which was enough to win the weekend but fell short of expectations. Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth lead the cast of the prequel, which also stars Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman and Viola Davis. Francis Lawrence, who directed three previous Hunger Games films, returns as director.