A woman walks past movie posters in a cinema in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province on Jan 27, 2023. (PHOTO / VCG)

BEIJING – Buoyed by robust holiday ticket sales, China's 2023 box office hit the 20 billion yuan ($2.89 billion) milestone on Sunday, earlier than last year, according to film data platforms Maoyan and Beacon.

This came after China recorded the third highest-grossing May Day holiday when around 1.52 billion yuan was generated over five days through May 3, mostly by the comedy "Godspeed" and action film "Born to Fly," a dramatic depiction of China's elite pilots testing new fighter jets.

READ MORE: China records 3rd highest-grossing May Day box office

Back in January, the Spring Festival holiday — usually one of the most lucrative moviegoing periods in China — was the second highest-grossing to date. It raked in a whopping 6.77 billion yuan as crowds flooded theaters following China's adjustment of its response to COVID and lifting of many pandemic restrictions.