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Box Office: 'The Lion King' Dethroned Early in China



Before Disney's CGI remake could reach its second weekend in the massive Chinese market, a local family movie opened.

A coup d'état is afoot at China's massive movie box office. Disney's The Lion King is a $ 55 million, but the Hollywood blockbuster's reign is surprisingly short-lived.

Looking Up a local family movie, was released Thursday to rave reviews and is already dominating ticketing sales across the country. By 3 p.m. Beijing time, Looking Up [1

] The Lion King 's $ 2 million tally.

Looking Up ' s muscular start is especially troubling for The Lion King 's legs in China because the local title is playing as direct competition.

Co-directed by and starring Deng Chao ( The Mermaid Duckweed ), ) Looking Up Deng, who deviates from China's standardized test-focussed approach to education and parenting, and instead nurtures his son (played by Feng Ze'ang as a boy, and Bai Yu as an adult) and encourages him to chase his own dreams.

The movie takes the present day as a framing device, in which the adult son, now on astronaut, loses contact while aboard his ship amidst the vastness of space.

"This is a movie you should watch with your child," said one user of Chinese social media service Weibo in a

"The film shows some of the problems with our educational system, and the importance of children's independence," wrote a user of Chinese movie reviews site Douban.

Looking Up is riding strong social scores: 9.4 / 10 from Maoyan, 9.1 on Alibaba's ticketing app Taopiaopiao and 6.3 from Douban (which has a more critical community of filmgoers). The Lion King has been shot in China too, though, with its scores sitting at 8.9, 8.8 and 7.4, respectively.

Looking Up 's cast and filmmakers began a major marketing tour last weekend, holding preview screenings across the country. By Wednesday, even though the film has yet to open officially, Looking Up has already sold more than $ 14 million in tickets for previews. Tianjin Chengzi Yingxiang Media, with Enlight Media, Maoyan, Tencent Pictures and Dadi Films also holds stakes.

After its solid $ 55 million opening, The Lion King was projected by Maoyan to finish in China with approximately $ 165 million (RMB 1.14 billion). [Foreclosure] Looking Up grows. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, the movie had earned $ 74 million.


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