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“Detective Chinatown 3” Posts Huge Presale Numbers, Secures US and UK Releases

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The latest instalment in the Detective Chinatown action-comedy franchise is set to do some impressive numbers at the hyper-competitive Spring Festival box office this year, after the film sold over 15 million USD worth of presales in just 24 hours. That figure puts it second only to Avengers: Endgame in terms of presale records in China.

The second film in the trilogy (released in 2018) became the fourth most successful movie ever in China after making 540 million USD, with around 2 million of that in the US. And with the threequel looking likely to perform strongly, Warner Bros has announced it will be bringing it to 150 screens in the States, one of the most extensive US releases for a Chinese film in recent years. Trinity Cineasia will also be running selected screenings of the film in the UK, with the film being released in both countries on January 25, the first day of the Year of the Rat.

Detective Chinatown 3 follows the wacky Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran-led team of Chinatown crime-cracking super sleuths to Tokyo, following previous slapstick visits to Bangkok and New York.

The Spring Festival holiday has emerged as the biggest time of the year for blockbuster releases in China, with last year’s box office being dominated by sci-fi smash The Wandering EarthDetective Chinatown 3 faces competition from Legend of Deification (which is from the same universe as China’s most successful animated film Nezha), another comedy threequel Lost In Russia, and the Gong Li-led Leap, which follows the story of China’s beloved women’s volleyball team.

In a surprise announcement, perhaps linked to Detective Chinatown 3‘s daunting numbers, Xu Zheng’s Lost In Russia moved its release date up by a day to Lunar New Year’s Eve with little notice.

You can read more about all those films, along with other Spring Festival contenders including a new Eddie Peng-starring action film from Operation Red Sea director Dante Lam, here:

Film and TV in 2020: What Will China Be Watching?

Cover photo: Wang Baoqiang in Detective Chinatown 3; photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.