This past weekend has arguably been the most important frame yet for the pandemic-era box office, with a quartet of titles all hitting major milestones to signal that the worst may finally be behind the theatrical industry at long last.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage smashed Black Widow‘s domestic record after debuting to $90 million, while Dune passed $100 million internationally and No Time to Die scored an impressive international opening of $119 million, making it the first pandemic-era movie to reach three figures overseas in its first weekend without an assist from China.
That’s encouraging stuff, but the Chinese box office has rebounded a lot stronger than either domestic or international business, which is why Dune and No Time to Die will be thrilled they’re getting a release in the country. As per The Hollywood Reporter, local blockbuster The Battle at Lake Changjin blew the Hollywood competition out of the water by earning a mind-boggling $235 million between Thursday and Sunday alone.
Reportedly China’s most expensive film ever with a budget estimated to be $200 million, the war epic has been described as somewhat propagandist in nature, fitting the government-mandated remit to rope in A-list talent to craft big budget stories that glorify heroism and national sacrifice.
The Battle at Lake Changjin is projected to earn $745 million before the end of its run, which wouldn’t even make it the year’s biggest box office success on local shores, an honor that belongs to Hi, Mom and its $821 million tally.