Does China Still Need Hollywood Films Like ‘Dune’ After Homegrown $750 Million Hit ‘Battle at Lake Changjin’?

China now has the two highest grossing films worldwide this year, prompting questions over how much it still needs Hollywood imports

While the U.S. box office has been seeing the most consistently strong box office numbers since theaters reopened thanks to a trio of October releases, the box office in China has exploded without the need of Western imports from Hollywood — thanks in large part to Bona Film Group’s megablockbuster “The Battle at Lake Changjin.”

Released on September 30 to coincide with National Day, “Lake Changjin” opened to $233 million, according to data from Artisan Gateway, and just passed $750 million in China alone — surpassing the $716.5 million global run of the Unviversal’s “Fast & Furious” film “F9,” the highest grossing Hollywood film this year. In doing so, it also ended a months-long slump for the Chinese box office fueled by COVID-19 surges and release date shifts.

It is into this boom period that Hollywood will make its return to Chinese theaters with Legendary/Warner Bros.’ “Dune,” which opens this Friday in both China and the U.S.. Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic will be a test of the Chinese audience’s interest in Western films as their growing hunger for locally made blockbusters pushed overall grosses to $523 million in the past three weekends.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster