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‘Journey to the West’ Sequel Dominates Foreign Box Office With $85 Million

Variety logo Variety 1/29/2017 Brent Lang
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Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back” rang in Chinese New Year on a high note. The fantasy sequel topped the foreign box office, bringing in a massive $85 million. It is the follow-up to the 2013 smash “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.” Stephen Chow, the director of the first film, wrote the screenplay, but handed the filmmaking calls over to Tsui Hark (“A Better Tomorrow”). The first film was one of the highest-grossing Chinese releases in history, earning $215 million.

“Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back” had the biggest day ever for a local Chinese title, earning $52.5 million on its opening day, topping the record established last year by “The Mermaid.” It also did particularly well in Imax, making $7.4 million across 390 of the premium theater company’s screens. Imax set a new record for best opening day ever for a local language title.

Two other Chinese-backed films, “Buddies in India” and “Kung Fu Yoga,” took second and third place on the charts, earning $44 million and $40 million, respectively. “Buddies in India” is the directorial debut of popular comic Wang Baoqiang and centers on two friends trying to find a lost will, while “Kung Fu Yoga” stars Jackie Chan as an archaeology professor on a treasure hunt.

Sony’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” was the highest-grossing U.S. film on the foreign box office chart. The science-fiction adventure picked up $28.3 million to bring its global gross to $78.4 million.

Paramount’s “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage” rounded out the top five, picking up $24 million to bring its global gross to $122.5 million. The action film has been greeted with a shrug by stateside audiences, having only earned $33.5 million domestically. However, Paramount appears to have manufactured the film to have greater foreign appeal, casting Kris Wu, Tony Jaa, and Ruby Rose, major stars in China, Thailand, and Australia, alongside Vin Diesel.

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