Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, starring Paul Rudd, fell to third place at China’s theatrical box office in its second weekend on local screens, earning just $7 million. Hong Kong courtroom thriller A Guilty Conscience, meanwhile, topped the charts with an $8.5 million opening, according to box-office tracker Artisan Gateway. And sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth 2, which has been in cinemas since China’s Lunar New Year holiday over a month ago, climbed back into second place with an $7.4 million haul, lifting its total to $568 million.
Chinese viewers have rewarded Ant-Man 3 with strong social scores — 8.8 on Maoyan, 8.7 at Alibaba’s Taopiaopiao and 6.1 on Douban — but its earnings are coming in far below the first two titles in the franchise. After nine days in release, Ant-Man 3 had earned $31.4 million. Maoyan currently projects the film to finish with a total of around $40 million. The original Ant-Man earned $105.4 million in 2015 and its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, brought in $121.2 million in 2018.
Ticket sales in China for the weekend totaled just $39.6 million, the smallest frame of the year so far. But thanks to bumper earnings over the Lunar New Year holiday, the country’s overall 2023 box office is running 7 percent ahead of 2022’s total during the equivalent period.
A Guilty Conscience is the wildly successful directorial debut of prolific screenwriter turned filmmaker Jack Ng Wai-lun (Anita, Cold War 2 and Unbeatable). The film was a historic success at home in Hong Kong last year, becoming the territory’s top-grossing film of all time with sales topping 100 million Hong Kong dollars (about $12.8 million). The movie stars Dayo Wong Tze-wah as an attorney with a guilty conscience fighting for a falsely accused and unfairly imprisoned client. Louise Wong co-stars, along with Fish Liew, Renci Yeung, Adam Pak and Michael Wong Man-tak. Despite its limited opening, A Guilty Conscience has earned raves from mainland Chinese viewers, with social scores of 9.2 on Maoyan, 9.5 on Taopiaopiao and 7.7 from Douban, suggesting a solid hold over the weeks ahead.
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