Box Office: 'The Croods 2' Dominates 'Judas And The Black Messiah', China Sees Record Ticket Sales For Lunar New Year

This past weekend's box office is still hanging out in the stone age. DreamWorks Animation's The Croods: A New Age continued to dominate a paltry domestic box office, even with the arrival of buzzy awards contender Judas and the Black Messiah.

But even as box office figures have slowly improved as major markets remain closed amid the pandemic, none of that compares to the historic weekend that the Chinese box office just enjoyed, with action-comedy sequel Detective Chinatown 3 setting the country's record for Lunar New Year opening weekend.

Judas and the Black Messiah proved no match for DreamWorks' family of cavemen, coming in second to The Croods: A New Age, which grossed just over $2 million in its 12th week of release, bringing its box office total to roughly $49 million. With the long President's Day weekend, that weekend gross is projected to total $2.7 million, Variety reports.

But the Warner Bros. release still managed to earn second or third place, depending on the last day of the long holiday weekend, despite the drama's day-and-date release on HBO Max. The powerful drama about Black Panther leader Fred Hampton opened to $2 million from 1,888 locations, and is projected to gross $2.4 million by the end of the weekend. Not bad (under the circumstances) for an arthouse release that is expected to be a major awards season player, after earning rave reviews upon its debut at the Sundance Film Festival and Oscar buzz for stars Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, and Lakeith Stanfield, as well as for director and co-writer Shaka King. Variety notes that the film's A CinemaScore and positive word-of-mouth has Warner Bros. excited that the film could have some long legs at the box office, despite a slow start.

But how big a start can you expect at movie theaters, when most major markets in New York and Los Angeles remain closed amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and now, brutal winter storms? Only films in the top 5 slots of the box office charts can enjoy grosses totaling in the millions, with Open Road's The Marksmen taking the No. 5 spot at $1.1 million. Other films — including Robin Wright's directorial debut Land ($940,000), the Jodie Foster-starring Guantanamo drama The Mauritanian ($144,000), and Bleecker Street's Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston period romance The World to Come ($42,552) — earned in the thousands.

But over in China, audiences are setting box office records. Chinese theaters made history this weekend with record ticket sales of nearly $775 million (RMB5.0 billion) within the first three days of the Chinese New Year holiday, thanks to the top performer Detective Chinatown 3, which opened to a whopping $424 million, per Variety.

This marked the first time China's box office has ever broken RMB1 billion ($155 million) a day for three consecutive days, which is an incredible achievement considering China's theaters limit capacity at 75% in most parts of the country, and 50% in areas particularly at risk for COVID-19, such as the Beijing-adjacent Hebei province. To show how big this is, Detective Chinatown 3 surpassed the opening for the 2019 box office behemoth The Wandering Earth, which also opened on Lunar New Year in 2019, and went on to become the country's third highest-grossing film of all time.