On February 10, 2013, Chinese New Year, Stephen Chow's Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, starring Shu Qi, Wen Zhang, Huang Bo, was released in theaters around China. Taking 78 million Yuan ($12.5 million) on the very first day, Journey takes over the mantel held by last year's Painted Skin: Resurrection (which earned approximately 70 million yuan/$11.2 million on its release day) to become the biggest opening day gross of all time for a Chinese film. Including foreign imports, the all-time high is still Hollywood's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which earned with 102 million yuan ($16.4 million) on its first day.
The Stephen Chow action comedy is another adaptation of one of the most popular novels in Chinese literature: Journey to the West. Chow himself brought another Journey to the West adaptation to the screen in the 1990s with a string of films titled A Chinese Odyssey. In the U.S., the story was adapted for the big screen by Lionsgate's The Forbidden Kingdom, which featured the first film pairing of Chinese heavyweights Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
According to Weibo portal Dianyingpiaofangba, one of the most authoritative sources of Chinese box-office information, Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons did nearly as well on their second day of release, taking in 15.1 million yuan ($24.2 million) in just two days.
On Thursday, February 14, numbers were released that showed the film made $19.5 million just on Valentine's Day ousting the previous single-day record previously held by Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Latest figures show the film earning 560 million yuan ($89.7 million) in the week ending on February 17, 2013 -- accounting for 2/3 (66%) of all film sales in China that week.
If these trends continue, Journey to the West is set to become Chow's highest earning film ever.