Hundreds of millions of people are stuck in cities around China during this Lunar New Year holiday, as coronavirus restrictions put a halt to a travel season that is usually the world’s largest annual migration. Instead, they are going to the movies — and powering a blowout resurgence at the box office.
“Detective Chinatown 3,” the latest installment in a long-running buddy cop series, raked in an estimated $397 million over three days, according to Maoyan, which tracks ticket sales in the country. That set a world record for the largest opening weekend in a single market. The previous record-holder, “Avengers: Endgame,” took in $357 million in its weekend opening in the United States and Canada in 2019.
The strong showing was a forceful reminder of the power of the Chinese consumer. While the Chinese economy has come roaring back as the country has largely tamed the coronavirus, shoppers and moviegoers have been slower to open their wallets.