‘Meg’ Makes $50 Million in Third Place Opening – Variety

A lucrative and confusing weekend saw “The Meg” score $50 million and take third place at the China box office. The first two places were taken by ‘iPartment” and “The Island” with over $70 million each.

Given 125,000 screenings on its opening day, “iPartment,” an apparent sitcom adaptation, ran off with $44.2 million on Friday, ahead of comedy “The Island” with $22.1 million from 86,000 screenings, according to data from Ent Group. “Meg” had 74,000 screenings and took third place with $15.5 million. But controversy dogged the Friday outcome, as distributors of “iPartment” were said to have supported their film with unusually heavy buying of their own film’s tickets, in a move to create the appearance of success.

Saturday saw ‘IPartment” increase its screen count, and “Meg” reduced. But “The Island” ran out the winner, earning $27.9 million, ahead of “iPartment” with $18.6 million, and “Meg” with $16.6 million.

Sunday was different again. “The Island” and “Meg” both gained screens, helping “The Island” to $27.6 million and “Meg” have its best day with $17.9 million.

After three days, “The Island” finished with $72.6 million, ‘iPartment” with $71.6 million. ‘Meg” scored $50.1 million, beating the film’s $44.5 million score in North America.  The China total for “Meg” included $7 million from 520 IMAX screens.

Online commentators were puzzled and angered by the outcome. “When audiences discover that ‘iPartment’ is not a romantic comedy, but a tomb raiding movie, they will drop it,” said one. Others worried about the negative impact it had on the competing films. Indeed audience ratings and box office were sharply out of line. “The Island” earned a 7.6 rating out of 10 according to users of ticketing website Mtime and 7.4 out of 10 on leading fan site Douban. “Meg” earned a lesser 6.5 on Mtime and 6.1 on Douban. But ‘iPartment” plumbed rarely seen depths with just 2.8 on Mtime and a 2.7 score on Douban.

“Hello Mr. Billionaire,” the previous chart-topper added $11.6 million in fourth place. After 17 days on release, it has grossed $341 million.

In fifth place was Chinese animation, “Yugo & Lala 4” with $2.23 million. After 10 days it has scored $12.3 million.

No other film took more than $1 million. But Chinese theaters earned $210 million in three days, for their third best best weekend of the year, and the busiest outside of the Chinese New Year period.

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