Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 12/06/2021

Emperor Motion Pictures /
Lian Rey Pictures
Maoyan Entertainment /
SplendidSky Pictures

Action-adventure film, Schemes in Antiques grabbed the top spot at the mainland China box office with a solid $25.6 million debut. It deposed crime comedy Be Somebody which had topped the chart for the past three weekends and earned $13.3 million on its fourth weekend. After 24 days of release, Be Somebody has a $117 million cumulative.

After having been cleared by authorities in late November, the market has now given the film an official date of January 14, 2022. The Keanu Reeves-starrer will also be available on HBO Max in the US from December 22, meaning that, unfortunately, piracy could be an issue with a later than hoped for China date. This is currently the only major Hollywood title on the upcoming China calendar, while fans anxiously await word on Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Chinese cinemas released 2020 Korean comedy Oh! My Gran (Oh! Moon-Hee) over the past weekend, ending a six-year hiatus of Korean film releases. When Seoul deployed the THAAD U.S. missile defense system in 2016, Beijing expressed its displeasure with a ban on Korean film and culture imports. A Korean film hasn’t had a proper theatrical outing in the mainland since 2015’s The Assassination.

Top honors over the latest weekend went to local fantasy film Spiritwalker which dropped 47% in its second frame to score a lowly $1.16 million over the weekend and lift its 12-day total to $5.19 million. Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the highest-ranking new release of the last weekend. It earned $407,000 between Friday and Sunday and $659,000 over its opening five days. Cinemas are among the high-risk places affected by a new tightening of health measures in Korea, intended to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. From Monday, cinemagoers must show a “vaccine pass” in order to be allowed admission.

Pokémon Company/Timi Studio’s Pokémon Unite has been named the best game of Google Play’s Best of 2021 awards. The game was also among the Best Competitive titles.

PUBG Mobile in Japan has revealed a collaboration event with KyoAni hit anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This collaboration may not seem intuitive to many, but Interpret’s data indicates that there is a large intersection of anime fans and battle royale players.

Though not confirmed by Sony, Bloomberg reports that Sony PlayStation is planning to roll out a new subscription service intended to compete directly with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. The project is allegedly codenamed “Spartacus.”

South Korean K-pop superstars BTS have reaped $33.3 million in sales of 214,000 tickets for their first offline stage concerts at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, United States since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the biggest box office in the global music scene in nearly a decade.

One of Japan’s most ubiquitous purveyors of anime goods and merchandise, Animate, has announced that they plan to expand their flagship Ikeubkuro store into the “world’s biggest anime shop.” The re-opening in Spring 2023 will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the company’s first Animate store in Ikebukuro back in 1983.

Chinese leading video streaming company iQiyi is poised to impose massive layoffs on its workforce, the Chinese and financial sector media reported on Wednesday and Thursday. The layoffs could affect 20-40% of its workforce. Local leading media Sina Technology said that iQiyi needs to reduce costs and will focus the job cuts on spending departments such as marketing and delivery. It said that almost all staff in the iQiyi Research Institute and iQiyi Game Center have been laid off. Even the key content department was not untouched. The moves follow the recent publication of poor quarterly results, in which losses deepened and subscriber numbers edged fractionally lower to 103.6 million.