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Weekly Box Office: “Life of Pi” Cracks Through $432 Million

By on December 12, 2012

Weekly Box Office: “Life of Pi” Cracks Through $432 Million thumbnail

Director Ang Lee’s (李安) Life of Pi has finally broke even. Strong worldwide tickets sales to-date have allowed it to recuperate its production cost of $120 million USD.

Life of Pi was not always regarded to be such a big box office success. The film has no big stars and features 17-year-old newcomer Suraj Sharma as a shipwreck boy struggling to survive in the Indian Ocean. Its philosophical tones also made the film difficult to market.  It surprised and delighted Ang Lee that his film has become both an audience and critics’ favorite. Life of Pi was recently nominated for 9 awards in the 18th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and expected to receive Oscar nominations as well.

“At first the film’s investors said the material was too spiritual. The current box office performance has surpassed my own expectations. I’m very happy and thank everyone’s support,” Ang Lee said gratefully.

Life of Pi’s popularity in mainland China remained unchallenged, with weekly sales of $162.40 million RMB pushing cumulative sales past $432.50 million RMB for the week ending December 9. In its third straight week, Life of Pi has no signs of slowing down despite ending its 3D IMAX run, with an average attendance of 41 people per show. It is expected that Life of Pi will break box office records in China after its phenomenal run.

Feng Xiaogang’s (馮小剛) Back to 1942 <一九四二> remained in second place, generating weekly sales of $146.70 million RMB and cumulative sales of $280.50 million RMB. While Back to 1942’s weekly sales performance was slightly below Life of Pi, its average attendance was also lower at 32 people per show.

New Hong Kong film, My Sassy Hubby <我老婆唔夠秤2:我老公唔生性>, had a modest opening of $11.1 million RMB in China and $3.21 million HKD in Hong Kong. The film reunites Charlene Choi (蔡卓妍) and Ekin Cheng (鄭伊健) and is a continuation of the successful romantic comedy, My Wife Is 18 <我老婆唔夠秤>.

Mainland China Box Office 

Week Ending December 9, 2012 
$ in millions RMB





Days in Theaters


Life of Pi





Back to 1942           <一九四二>





The Last Supper       <王的盛宴>





My Sassy Husband <我老公不靠谱>





2012 in 3D





Hong Kong Box Office 
Week Ending December 9, 2012
$ in millions HKD





Days in Theaters


Life of Pi





My Sassy Hubby





Cold War <寒戰>





Back to 1942           <一九四二>









Box Office figures from QQ.com and HKFilmart.com

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  • Readers' Comments (11)

    1. Djojs says:

      It’s really annoying and incorrect how you write eg $100 million RMB.

      It should simply be CN¥100m or RMB 100m

      The $ is a Dollar sign. Don’t mix them together.

      Similarly, not $100 million HKD. But HK$100m or HKD 100m

    2. Terminator says:

      Actually, the formal description is
      100 million RMB with the currecy designation on the right side.

      But I agree the $ symbol should only be used in dollar denominated currencies: US, HK, Australia, Singapore and Canada.

    3. Kidd says:

      Watch this movie yesterday. The visual is amazing. Some scenes are very beautiful and mesmerizing. The CGI animals are very realistic. I think the CGI is better than the ‘Lord of the Ring’ movies.

      I expect this movie to be quite boring since a large chunk of the movie only has the tiger and Pi. But, it’s surprisingly not boring. The movie has some comic moment that keeps it from being boring and also have some great actions. While watching the movie, I did sometimes wish Pi will meet another human earlier. But, for a story with a human and a tiger only, it’s pretty good liao.

      Worth a watch.

      • Funn Lim says:

        Quite a few scenes has me choking in tears, like how he lost his family, and him almost giving up. It is a very moving movie, beautiful and also moving, perhaps Ang Lee’s best. The young actor may be amateur but he is surprisingly charismatic, I enjoyed watching him. I believe at the end Ang Lee must have filmed the visuals to the 2nd story but decided against showing it, just showing Pi narrating because no way Gerard Depardieu is a special guest star with a 10 minutes max scene. NO WAY! But I will say it is a good call because it would taken away the sensitivity of the story and make it into a gore fest. I did cry “Richard Parker, don’t go!!” at the end as well.

        But Kidd, if you think the movie is good, believe me the book is even better. THe movie cut out some good moments and this is kind of a sanitized version. Some problems like the boat is too clean, the boy seem very good at balancing himself on water, etc. But other than that, I truly enjoyed this movie as I have enjoyed the book. I love how he said he wants to be baptized. One very good scene from the book was cut where the priest, the rabbi and the is it hadi? Haji? From the mosque, all met and they discussed about a very pious boy called Pi and they realised he had been practising all 3 faiths together. A very funny moment but Pi is right. Have a bit of faith as it is with God. I believe in Richard Parker!!

        • Kidd says:

          I remember you said there were comments (from other viewers/reviewers) that the actor acting as Pi is not good. But, I don’t find him so. I find his acting pretty good and natural. The emotions were displayed well.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Yes there were, saying he was amateur. Yes he is but there is something about him you can’t help but stare at you know?

    4. Terminator says:

      So, with all the articles touting about the performance of My Sassy Hubby, it has turned out quite below average in the box office.

      • Jayne says:

        Some may feel that romantic comedies are best saved to watch on DVD at home while special effects/ action films are best appreciated on the big screen.

        Given the low production budget of most romantic comedies, they are profitable enough.

    Readers are no longer able to comment on this old article.

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