Tom Cruise faced a challenging weekend in China as his latest film struggled to make an impact at the box office. Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One debuted in third place, behind two successful Chinese movies.
The sequel, produced by Paramount and Skydance, earned only $25.9 million during its opening weekend, a significant drop compared to Mission: Impossible Fallout’s $76 million opening in 2018. The Chinese martial arts drama Never Say Never took the top spot with $46.1 million, followed closely by the local animation hit Chang An, which grossed $43.9 million.
Local reviews for Cruise’s film were positive, with high scores on popular rating platforms. However, Chinese audiences are not showing the same enthusiasm for American movies as they once did.
China’s cinema market has rebounded strongly since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. In the first half of 2023, total ticket revenue reached $3.8 billion, a 16 percent decrease from 2019 but a significant improvement from the previous year. Chinese films have been particularly successful, with sales totaling $2.8 billion, a 27 percent increase compared to the pre-pandemic period.
The decline in revenue is primarily attributed to the decreasing performance of American films in China. Despite the regular release of Hollywood blockbusters, US films only earned $592 million in the first half of the year, a sharp decline from the $1.9 billion generated during the same period in 2019.
Looking ahead, hopes remain for the potential success of Greta Gerwig and Warner Bros’ film “Barbie,” set to open in China soon. However, it will face tough competition from local productions, such as the highly anticipated first installment of Chinese director Wuershan’s “The Fengshen Trilogy,” described as “China’s Answer to Lord of the Rings.”