With its performance at the domestic box office still sitting on the edge of the top 10,The Martian has had a hell of a ride since its October opening. Which makes the fact that the film managed to rake in a $50 million sweetener to its already massive pot even more interesting. And it's all thanks to the film's debut among the good people of China.
After opening at the Chinese Box Office this weekend, The Martian took a predictable first place finish, in a year that's also seen films such as Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man, and even Terminator Genisys taking in a good portion of the market's money in the past couple of months. Even better is the fact that The Wraphas noted that this development has pushed the Ridley Scott directed film past the $550 million mark, which looks even better against a $100 million production budget.
So what does this say about The Martian and its formula for victory? Well, for starters, Matt Damon is still an international box office draw. With his performance as Mark Watney anchoring the stellar ensemble cast on display in the film, Damon's supposed popularity says a lot about his career's viability. In particular, it wouldn't be a surprise if his return to the Bourne series next year would be able to rake in similar, if not higher, numbers upon its Chinese opening.
In terms of Ridley Scott's career, The Martian is the shot in the arm that his career needed after The Counselor and Exodus: Gods And Kings were met with less than stellar audience reactions. This should further embolden Fox, his frequent studio partner, and Alien franchise home base, to further trust his judgment and vision in the series that he recently returned to. So if Neill Blomkamp is looking for any sort of hope when it comes to getting Alien 5 back on track, he'd better make sure to bring his A-game with that new time travel project he's signed on to.
Of course, while Fox and Ridley Scott may be doing a dance of joy with The Martian's big Chinese debut, they're going to want to think of a tighter strategy if they really want to impress the world when Alien: Covenant opens in the country's movie houses. Considering the record for an opening weekend in China was set this year by Universal's Furious 7, it's obvious that in order to truly conquer the Chinese box office, brand recognition helps a lot – but so does a fair amount of flash, with a well rounded cast of diverse backgrounds.
Alien: Covenant is slated for an October 6th, 2017 release date, which leaves plenty of time to add more of any of the successful elements above into the film's recipe for success.