One of the undisputed Chinese masters of comedy, Stephen Chow returns with an action-packed love story about competing demon hunters vying for the same conquests.
||March 7th, 2014 (Limited) by Magnolia Pictures, released as Journey to the West|
||February 7th, 2013 (Wide) (China)
||May 27th, 2014 by Magnolia Home Entertainment|
||PG-13 for fantasy violence including bloody images, some sexual content and partial nudity.|
(Rating bulletin 2307, 1/29/2014)
||Wuxia, Unrequited Love, Character's Journey Shown on Map, Fantasy Sequence, Chinese Mythology, First Love, Martial Arts, Demons, Romance, Visual Effects, One Set|
|Source:||Based on Folk Tale/Legend/Fairytale|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
||Wanda Media Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, Chinavision Media Group, Bingo Movie Development, Edko Films|
While summer time is a great time for theatrical releases, it is a terrible time on the home market. This week, there are nearly no first-run releases, and the one that came out, Endless Love, earned terrible reviews and failed to find an audience in theaters. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of other releases to make up for the lack of first-run releases. There are some catalog releases, like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is coming out on Blu-ray. There are also some summer shows coming out on DVD ahead of the premiere of the latest season, like Suits: Season Three. There's not much in the way of contenders for Pick of the Week. Cheap Thrills is one such contender, but I'm still waiting for the DVD or the Blu-ray screener to arrive. This leaves Journey to the West on Blu-ray as the only choice for Pick of the Week.
Stephen Chow wrote, directed, and starred in Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, which are two amazing movies. When I heard he was making another movie, I was super excited. When Journey to the West was released last year, the film made $200 million internationally, which helped lift expectations. (It made less than $20,000 here, but it was playing on Video on Demand as well as in theaters, so this isn't surprising.) Is the film as good as its predecessors? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up?
The Grand Budapest Hotel led the way on the per theater chart with an average of $202,792 in four theaters. This is the best per theater average this year and the best per theater average since Frozen's debut last year. It is also the best per theater average for a live action film of all time, beating The Master's old record of $147,262 in five theaters set in 2012. The film will clearly expand wide enough to earn a significant measure of mainstream success, if it doesn't expand truly wide. Particle Fever was next with an average of $14,323 in three theaters over the weekend, while its total since Wednesday is $49,869. The only wide release to top $10,000 on the per theater chart was 300: Rise of an Empire, which earned an average of $13,006. Interior. Leather Bar. was a surprise entrant in the $10,000 club earning $10,902 in one theater.
This week the list of limited releases includes The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is earning amazing buzz and arguably better reviews. It will likely dominate the per theater chart so much so that the rest of the films might suffer as as result. This would be too bad, because there are several other films that deserve to find an audience. Grand Piano and In Fear are both earning great reviews, but as horror films playing on Video on Demand, their box office numbers will be nothing more than an afterthought. There are also a couple of comedies I'm interested in seeing, Journey To The West and No Clue, although the latter is only playing in Canada.
Oz the Great and Powerful began its international run in first place with $69.2 million on 11,250 screens in 46 markets. It crushed the competition is Russia with $14.65 million on 1,137 screens, but this particular market tends to reward fantasy films. It wasn't quite as strong in the U.K., but still earned first place with $5.53 million on 530 screens. It also topped the charts in Mexico ($5.26 million on 207 screens); in Australia ($4.88 million on 268); in Brazil ($4.39 million 732); Italy ($3.76 million 588); Germany ($3.74 million on 548); and in Spain ($2.62 million on 649). On the other hand, it had to settle for second place in Japan with $2.81 million on 584 screens over the weekend for a total opening of $3.50 million. It could do no better than fourth in South Korea with $1.58 million on 425 screens over the weekend for a total opening of $1.73 million. It is too soon to tell where it will end up, but this is a good start.
Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons earned first place for the third weekend in a row earning $23.37 million in 8 markets for a running tally of $193.09 million. A few years ago, a Chinese film earning nearly $200 million would have been the biggest news of the year, but this is becoming almost common.
For the third weekend in a row, Django Unchained earned first place on the international chart. This weekend it earned $19.55 million on 5,090 screens in 65 markets for totals of $187.71 million internationally and $342.23 million worldwide. It has now made more than Inglourious Basterds made worldwide, and it is a week away from becoming Quentin Tarantino's undisputed biggest hit of his career. Plus, it has yet to open in Japan and a few other markets, so it might have more milestones ahead.
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