Avengers: Endgame is the ruling box-office champion. After a 3D gimmick and higher ticket prices somehow kept James Cameron’s Avatar at the top of the charts for a decade, it was finally dethroned by the culmination of ten years of Marvel storytelling.
Avengers: Endgame also set record after record on the way there. Fastest film to hit $500 million. Fastest to $1 billion. Fastest to $1.5 billion. Highest opening weekend of all time at $1.2 billion. It also snagged the highest opening weekend of all time in a single market – $357 million in North America.
Well, not anymore. It is that last record that has fallen, and to an overseas market to a movie very few in the West will ever have heard of.
It was Lunar New Year over the weekend and with theaters back open across China Detective Chinatown 3 grossed $398 million in its opening weekend. Detective what?
Oh… my! The Chinese comedy-mystery buddy film is directed and written by Chen Sicheng, starring Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran. It is, unsurprisingly, a sequel to Detective Chinatown 2. The franchise is extremely popular in China. Like Rush Hour but without Chris Tucker.
In it, heroes Tang Ren and Qin Feng are invited to Tokyo to investigate a crime that has occurred there, leading to a battle between the strongest detectives in Asia.
The first movie was set in Bangkok, and the second in New York.
That sort of box-office potential is why American studios are dropping their pants and bending over for Chinese censors, or turning a blind eye to human rights atrocities for access to the market.
For the record to cross back over the Pacific it will probably take Marvel’s Phase Four to be a success and for Avengers 5 to land at some point. (See our retro review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.)