LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment's war film "Midway" financed by Chinese companies took the top spot at the North American box office with 17.5 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.
Based on real-life events, the film centers on the 1942 Battle of Midway, a clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War.
Directed by Roland Emmerich, who is best known for his blockbuster films "Independence Day," "Godzilla" and "The Day After Tomorrow," the film features an ensemble cast, including Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson.
The World War II epic, is one of the costliest independent films in Hollywood history. The film was released in Chinese mainland on Nov. 8, the same day it opened in North America.
The total budget is approximately 100 million dollars, partly covered by Chinese companies including Starlight Culture Entertainment and Shanghai Ruyi Films. In terms of distribution, Summit Entertainment is responsible for the United States, Bona Film Group is responsible for the Greater China area, according to the website of Starlight Culture Entertainment.
Peter Luo, chief executive of Starlight, told The Wall Street Journal that his company was drawn to the war film that would show "how the Chinese people suffered."
"We want to use Hollywood stories to tell the Chinese story to everyone in the world," Luo quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.
In a "Midway" subplot, U.S. World War II hero Jimmy Doolittle's B-25s bomber ran out of gas and crash-landed in China after 1942 Doolittle Tokyo Raid -- a sudden and brave air strike on Tokyo. The pilot was rescued by voluntary Chinese civilians and soldiers. The raid speeded up the timetable for the Japanese attack on Midway Island and their fiascos. A note at the end of film acknowledges that some 250,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese forces in retaliation to the Doolittle Tokyo Raid.
"Midway" received a positive "A" rating from moviegoers on CinemaScore.
The film is also a box office hit in the Chinese mainland, grossing more than 110 million yuan (about 15.7 million dollars) in the opening weekend, according to the Chinese film database Maoyan.
Warner Bros.' horror film "Doctor Sleep" opened in second place with 14.1 million dollars. Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Stephen King, the film is a sequel to the 1980 film "The Shining."
"Doctor Sleep" continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in "The Shining." Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the supernatural thriller, directed by Mike Flanagan.
Paramount's comedy film "Playing With Fire" debuted at third place with 12.8 million dollars this weekend. Directed by Andy Fickman and starring John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Dennis Haysbert, and Judy Greer. The film follows a team of expert firefighters who must watch over three siblings who have been separated from their parents and quickly learn that kids - much like fires - are wild and unpredictable.
Universal's comedy "Last Christmas" came in fourth with 11.6 million dollars in its opening weekend. Directed by Paul Feig, the film follows a young woman Kate subscribed to a bundle of bad decisions in a London-set romantic comedy taking place at Christmas.
Paramount's science fiction action film "Terminator: Dark Fate" finished fifth with 10.8 million dollars in its second weekend for a North American total through Sunday of 48.45 million dollars. The film is co-financed by Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, 20th Century Fox and Tencent Pictures which is the film and television arm of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Limited.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" is directed by Tim Miller and produced by James Cameron. It is the sixth installment in the "Terminator" franchise and a direct sequel to 1984's "The Terminator" and 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton reprised their iconic roles in the film as "The Terminator" and "Sarah Connor" from the first two installments directed by Cameron.