Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and US struggle to reopen theaters, the Chinese box office is alive. The anthology film, My People, My Homeland has now surpassed $300 million at their domestic box office, in just its second weekend of release.
The Chinese film is a sequel in some ways to the 2019 film ‘My People, My Country.’ The second film in the series is made up of five differing short films, somewhat akin to the Coen Brothers’ 2018 Netflix film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. However, instead of one pair of directors behind the camera, the Chinese film is directed by seven different directors, Xu Zheng, Deng Chao, Ning Hao, Damo Peng, Chen Sicheng, Fei Yan, and Yu Baimei.
While the film has many directors and a bulky 2 hours and 34 minutes, it still has reinvigorated the Chinese box office. Opening weekend the film brought in a mind boggling $157 million, while last year that would merely be a solid to great opening weekend, in the post-COVID world it is truly an impressive feat.
The foreign box office has been decent this year, though it is unlikely that any film will pass one billion at any market this year. The pandemic has put film going in an awkward space. The films currently at the top of the global market, according to Box Office Mojo, are the Chinese war film The Eight Hundred ($441 million), Bad Boys for Life ($426 million), and Tenet ($323 million).
It is clear that ‘My People, My Homeland’ will surpass ‘Tenet’ soon as the Nolan film is in its sixth week of domestic release, while the other is only in its second and has already surpassed $300 million at China’s box office. This last week the film made a solid $38 million.
In contrast, the US box office has struggled as Cineworld closed much of its operations in the United States. In this domestic box office without a significant amount of theaters, the DeNiro led The War with Grandpa made only $3.6 million in its opening weekend.