"Jumanji: The Next Level," a sequel to the 2017 American adventure comedy film "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," topped the Chinese mainland box office Friday, according to the China Movie Data Information Network Saturday.
The film raked in 60.91 million yuan (about 8.65 million U.S. dollars) on Friday, its opening day, accounting for over 43 percent of the daily total.
The film tells of a team of friends who return to the dangerous virtual world of the video game Jumanji to rescue one of their own and need to brave parts unknown, from arid deserts to snowy mountains, in order to escape the game.
It was followed by Chinese crime drama "The Wild Goose Lake," which grossed about 43.81 million yuan.
Coming in third was "The Whistleblower," a thriller about a Chinese expatriate who discovers a conspiracy at the firm he is working for, which pocketed 9.23 million yuan on its first day of screening.
Henry Cavill is all-in on his Netflix fantasy series "The Witcher," but he says the "door hasn't closed"on a return as Superman in the DC cinematic universe.
Cavill last played the superhero in 2017's "Justice League" and it's unclear whether any upcoming movies will feature the character. There are several films based on DC superheroes in the works, including sequels to "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman."
Cavill dons a long white wig to play monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in "The Witcher," an ambitious eight-episode adaptation of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's books. With intense magic, scheming political factions and epic battles, it's targeting the audiences that made "Game of Thrones" a worldwide phenomenon.
"I live in the fantasy genre anyway, that's my hobby. And so for me, it was always — it was always obvious. It was like yes, of course, these shows can be popular," Cavill said. "It was always a target. I always wanted to bring things like this to to the screen in one way, shape or form."
The show premieres on Netflix on Dec. 20, and production begins early next year on a second season.
The series features Cavill's Geralt engaging in intricately choreographed swordplay, relaxing in a bath and talking to his horse — all recognizable moments for fans of the acclaimed hit 2015 role-playing game "The Witcher 3." Cavill says his horse chats recalled his real-life dialogue with his American Akita dog Kal, who shows up regularly on his Instagram feed.
"That's exactly what I was channeling when I was interacting with Roach (the horse), it was 100 percent the relationship Kal and I have," he said. "Geralt may be a little harder. Generally, he's been living in a harsher world and hated by a lot of people for longer than I have."
Cavill was a fan of "The Witcher 3" before he landed the series. He says he imagined himself in the role while playing the game, which runs for dozens of hours.
"What CD Projekt Red did with the game was extraordinary," he said of the company that created the game series. "And so all the work is kind of done for you. It's all visualized in a spectacular world."
He added: "Every time I played the games, all I thought was how can I recreate this in a certain way? And where would it be possible? How is it possible? Is there anywhere in the world that looks like this?"
"Sky Fire," a Chinese-produced adventure film directed by renowned British director Simon West, is set to hit the big screen in China on Dec. 12, according to the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association.
It tells the story of people at a tropical resort in Southeast Asia who get caught up in a volcanic explosion.
The cast is led by Wang Xueqi, Hannah Quinlivan (also known as Kun Ling), and Dou Xiao.
As a director, Simon West is best known for his films "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" starring Angelina Jolie, "The General's Daughter" starring John Travolta and "Con Air" starring Nicholas Cage.
"Frozen 2" kept a wintry wind at its back in its second week, setting a Thanksgiving record with a whopping box office bounty, while newcomer "Knives Out" found its own broad audience.
Disney's new set of adventures for Anna, Elsa and Olaf brought in $85.3 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend and earned an unprecedented $132.7 million for the holiday frame of Wednesday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.
The first "Frozen" opened on Thanksgiving in 2013, but the sequel opened a week prior to the holiday, making it poised for a huge second week, with out-of-school kids happy to see it a second or a third time.
"Having the opening weekend falling a few days ahead of Thanksgiving really set it up perfectly," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the box office tracker Comscore.
That came on top of a record-burying opening weekend of $127 million debut domestically and $350.2 million worldwide that made it the highest-grossing global debut for any animated film globally, and the largest opening for any for any Walt Disney Animation Studios release.
The original film and its world-making song "Let It Go" became a pop-culture phenomenon, earning $1.27 billion worldwide and selling countless Elsa and Anna dresses.
The sequel has more than showed that the six years since has brought no thaw. It has already earned $739 million globally and should certainly surpass the original's totals.
"Disney is usually immune to the waning interest that audience have with some sequels," Dergarabedian said.
"Knives Out," the innovative whodunit from writer and director Rian Johnson, rode great reviews and strong social media buzz to a $27 million weekend and a five-day domestic total of $41.7 million that easily earned back its budget.
The film's vast and eclectic cast included Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Chris Evans.
Johnson, the director of "Looper" and "The Last Jedi," had been the target of some Twitter fanboy outrage for the direction he took the second episode in the newest "Star Wars" trilogy, whose final chapter opens next month.
The "Knives Out" opening showed his name value was unharmed and might even have been strengthened by the online noise, and its reception could mean awards season consideration for Johnson and the cast.
"First and foremost, this starts with Rian Johnson," said David Spitz, president of domestic distribution for Lionsgate. "He wrote a screenplay we all loved and executed it to perfection."
In response to the strong showing, Johnson on Sunday morning tweeted "Wow - THANKS to everyone who came to #KnivesOut this weekend, and for all the lovely tweets, you guys are the best."
While put on the calendar to draw in adults while kids were watching and re-watching "Frozen 2," "Knives Out" proved to be more than a niche picture.
"We set it with the counterprogramming expectation, this is a good adult dramedy," Spitz said.
But, he said, it turned out younger audiences had even better reactions than older ones.
"It's playing to everybody," Spitz said.
While the weekend showed that there is nothing like a franchise to bring in blockbuster bucks, it also reflected that tentpoles aren't the only means to attract audiences.
"When it comes to adult fare, it seems that audiences want more originality," Dergarabedian said.
"Knives Out" also opened strong internationally with a weekend of $28.3 million.
The weekend's other newcomer, "Queen & Slim," finished down in fifth with $11.7 million, but with a limited number of screens and a modest reported budget of about $20 million, it was still a successful opening for the Bonnie-and-Clyde-meets-Black-Lives-Matter story.
"Ford v Ferrari" rolled along in its third weekend of release, finishing in third place with $13.2 million.
Tom Hanks' Mister Rogers story "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" also hummed along in its second weekend, earning $11.8 million to put it fourth at the domestic box office.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Frozen 2," $85.3 million ($163.8 million international).
2. "Knives Out," $27 million ($28.3 million international).
3. "Ford v Ferrari," $13.2 million ($10.2 million international).
4. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," $11.8 million.
5. "Queen & Slim," $11.7 million.
6. "21 Bridges," $5.8 million ($1.9 million international).
7. "Playing with Fire," $4.2 million.
8. "Midway," $4 million ($2.7 million international).
9. "Joker," $2 million ($4.6 million international).
10. "Last Christmas," $1.99 million ($8 million international).
"Frozen 2" kept a wintry wind at its back in its second week, setting a Thanksgiving record with a whopping box office bounty.
Disney's ice princess sequel brought in $85.3 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend and earned an unprecedented $132.7 million for the holiday frame of Wednesday through Sunday. It has earned $288 million domestically in its 10 days of release.
"Knives Out," the innovative and star-heavy whodunit from director Rian Johnson, rode strong reviews and word of mouth to a $27 million weekend and a five-day total of $41.7 million that easily earned back its budget.
"Ford v Ferrari" was third in its third weekend of release with $13.2 million.
The weekend's other newcomer, "Queen & Slim," finished fifth with $11.7 million.