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Jackie Chan’s ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ Dominates Foreign Box Office

Variety logo Variety 2/5/2017 Brent Lang
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Kung Fu Yoga” dominated the foreign box office, racking up a hefty $51.4 million. The action-comedy with Jackie Chan represents the union of two of the largest film markets — China and India. It was backed by companies in both countries and has resonated with audiences in both places, grossing $177.9 million globally. The film centers on an archaeology professor who goes off in search of a lost treasure in Tibet.

Another Chinese smash, “Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back,” continued its hot run at the multiplexes, earning $35.3 million to capture second place on the foreign box office chart. The film is a follow-up to the 2013 smash “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons,” which was one of the highest-grossing Chinese releases in history, earning $215 million. The sequel should top that figure, having made $202 million in roughly two weeks of release.

China dominated the overseas charts, as “Duckweed,” a drama about a father reuniting with his estranged son, earned $29.5 million to nab third place. That brought its gross to $90 million.

China has been seen as the key contributor to the movie business’ growth in recent years, but fears were ignited in 2016 after ticket sales in the country began to slow. Last year, grosses in the Middle Kingdom hit their lowest levels in eight years. There’s signs of a rebound, however. In January, the box office was up 25 percent and February is kicking off on a high note with “Kung Fu Yoga” and the “Journey to the West” sequel shaping up to be blockbusters.

Lionsgate’s “La La Land” sang and danced its way to fourth place on the foreign chart, picking up $20.1 million. The musical is a leading Oscar contender, and the reviews and awards attention have enabled it to translate to foreign audiences. So far, “La La Land” has made $268.3 million globally.

Sony’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” rounded out the top five, picking up $16.5 million. The latest installment in the long-running action franchise has grossed $117.4 million globally.

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