Pixar’s “Coco” has raked in an impressive $152 million in the United States since its release four weeks ago, and yet there’s one other country where the animated movie has fared even better. No, it’s not Mexico.
The film has made nearly $155 million in China ― an unexpected feat in a country known for censoring movies featuring ghosts. “Coco” is all about the dead, as the plot revolves around a young Mexican boy’s adventure in the Land of the Dead.
But it’s the movie’s core message about family that seems to have propelled it to great success in China.
“There have been films in the past that Chinese audiences have embraced for their message about family,” Stanley Rosen, a political science professor at the University of Southern California’s U.S.-China Institute, told Quartz. “What we’re seeing with ‘Coco’ is similar to what we saw with ‘Dangal,’ [a 2016 Indian film] which was about the first women wrestlers to compete for India and their father who trained them. That film also had a strong message about putting family first and became a huge hit in China.”
“Coco” is the highest grossing Pixar release ever in China, according to Variety, and the third most successful Disney animated film there after “Zootopia” and “Big Hero 6.” It currently has a rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Chinese review site Douban.
In the U.S., the movie sat at the top of the box office for three straight weeks before succumbing to the raging forces of “Ferdinand” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”