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China Box Office: ‘Never Say Die’ Becomes Biggest Single-Market Comedy Ever With $280M

The body-swapping sports comedy surpassed a Jackie Chan movie for the local title while overtaking ‘Meet The Fockers’ ($279 million) for the single-territory title worldwide.

Never Say Die just won’t quit.

The body-swapping sports comedy from theater troupe turned film powerhouse Mahua Funage earned $30.9 million in its third weekend, bringing its 16-day total to a massive $280 million, according to box office analysts EntGroup.

That was just enough to give it the title of biggest comedy ever in a single market, taking the crown from Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro’s Meet the Fockers ($279.3 million, 2004). It also surged past Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga ($250 million) from earlier this year, becoming the biggest comedy ever in the China market.

The slapstick hit is an adaptation of a Mahua Funage stage play of the same name. It tells the story of a boxer and a journalist who mysteriously swap bodies after they are zapped by electricity. Both the play and the film were co-directed by Song Yang and Zhang Chiyu, and the film stars Ai Lun and Ma Li, the two leads from Mahua’s previous blockbuster smash Goodbye Mr. Loser ($226 million, 2016).

Bad Genius, a moody Thai thriller about a cunning system to cheat at high school exams, opened in second place with $17.1 million for the weekend — a huge haul for a Southeast Asian title. Co-written and directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya, the critically well-regarded film earned $3.3 million in Thailand after its May opening.

More to come…

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