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Thread: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    PRC netizens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    I heard that people in the PRC have been saying that Simu Liu is ugly, and is a poor representation of Chinese people.
    I saw that too. Mostly those seemed to be netizen articles - fluff features basing their data off subjective observations on PRC social media. I find those sorts of pieces to be bad journalism. Srsly. If people took what people said on the web seriously, they'd be taking vet deworming pills for covid, right?
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    The MCU rules

    Sep 25, 2021 8:32am PT
    Box Office: ‘Shang-Chi’ Surpasses ‘Black Widow’ as Highest-Grossing Film of 2021

    New release 'Dear Evan Hansen' is expected to take the No. 2 spot with $7.3 million.

    By Ellise Shafer

    Courtesy of Marvel Studios
    It’s official: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has surpassed fellow Marvel film “Black Widow” as the highest-grossing film of 2021 — and the pandemic — at the domestic box office.

    On Friday, the superhero adventure starring Simu Liu captured $3.59 million from 3,952 theaters, which was enough to push it past “Black Widow” with a total gross of $186.7 million. “Black Widow,” which premiered in July, has earned roughly $183.5 million in theaters since its release. It has earned at least $125 million more on Disney Plus.

    “Shang-Chi” breaking this record is a significant landmark for the movie theater business, as it was released solely in theaters with 45 days of exclusivity — as opposed to “Black Widow” and many other new releases, which have opted for a hybrid model.

    This weekend, “Shang-Chi” is poised to top the domestic box office charts for the fourth weekend straight, adding an expected $12 million to $14 million to its haul. The film should end the weekend just shy of the $200 million mark.

    New release “Dear Evan Hansen” is expected to come in second place with a subdued $7.3 million from 3,364 theaters. The Universal Pictures movie musical, starring Ben Platt as an isolated teenage boy who struggles to belong in the age of social media, took in $3.2 million on Friday.

    Ryan Reynolds’ box office hit “Free Guy” is set to move down a spot to No. 3, but is still holding on with a three-day estimate of $4 million from 3,175 theaters. Meanwhile, slasher film “Candyman” and Clint Eastwood’s newest movie “Cry Macho” are poised to round out the box office chart in fourth and fifth place, respectively. “Candyman” should earn another $2.4 million this weekend for a cume of $56.79 million, and “Cry Macho” is expected to add $2 million for a total gross of $8.2 million.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Still not in PRC

    Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' was made with China in mind. Here's why Beijing doesn't like it.
    "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is the latest movie to run into trouble in the country as nationalism and U.S.-China tensions rise.

    Simu Liu in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."Marvel Studios
    Oct. 3, 2021, 1:30 AM PDT
    By Rhea Mogul
    HONG KONG — David Tse recalls being overcome with pride as he walked out of a British movie theater after having watched "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," Marvel's latest superhero film.

    "Our community has finally arrived in the West," Tse, a British Chinese actor and writer, said by telephone from Birmingham, England. "Every Chinese person around the world should be immensely proud of Shang-Chi."

    The film, Marvel's first with a predominantly Asian cast, has been a hit with global audiences, having earned more at U.S. theaters than any other movie during the coronavirus pandemic and grossed more than $366 million worldwide since it was released early last month.

    But despite its box office success and the overwhelmingly positive reaction of Asian communities worldwide, it isn't playing on a single screen in mainland China, which last year overtook North America as the world's biggest movie market. It's the latest film to run into trouble in the country as nationalism and U.S.-Chinese tensions rise.

    From the beginning, "Shang-Chi" was made with China in mind. Much of the film's dialogue is in Mandarin, and the cast includes some of Asian cinema's biggest names, including Michelle Yeoh and the Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung, making his Hollywood film debut.

    Marvel's first movie with a predominantly Asian cast has been a hit with global audiences. Courtesy of Marvel
    Simu Liu, a Chinese-born Canadian actor who also starred in the Netflix sitcom "Kim's Convenience," plays Shang-Chi, a reluctant martial arts warrior forced to confront his father. The film has been widely praised as a major step forward as Hollywood tries to improve representation of Asians and Asian Americans.

    "Finally we see a strong character that isn't stereotyped the way we have been for generations," Tse said. "Our young people are desperate for more of them."

    "Shang-Chi" hasn't gotten the same welcome in China, where movies are strictly censored and the number of foreign releases each year is limited. That hasn't stopped Marvel in the past — in 2019, "Avengers: Endgame" earned $629 million from mainland Chinese audiences, more than any other foreign film in history.

    Officials haven't said why "Shang-Chi" has no release date, and the propaganda department of China's ruling Communist Party, which regulates the country's film and TV industry, didn't respond to a request for comment.

    Experts point to the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, rising Chinese nationalism and the character's racist comic book past.

    Rife with stereotypes

    Marvel debuted the Shang-Chi character in 1973 amid growing American interest in martial arts movies. The early Shang-Chi comics were rife with stereotypes about Asians — the characters were portrayed in unnatural yellow tones. Shang-Chi's father, a power-hungry villain named Fu Manchu, has been criticized as a symbol of "yellow peril," a xenophobic ideology originating in the 19th century in which Asians, especially Chinese, were viewed as a threat to Western existence.

    Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has emphasized that Fu Manchu is no longer a character in Marvel comics and that Shang-Chi's father in the film, played by Leung, is a completely different character named Xu Wenwu. But for some the connection persists.

    "Chinese audiences cannot accept a prejudiced character from 100 years ago is still appearing in a new Marvel film," the Beijing-based film critic Shi Wenxue told the Global Times, a state-backed nationalist tabloid.

    Liu, 32, who emigrated to Canada with his parents in the 1990s, has also drawn public ire over past comments critical of his country of birth.

    In a 2016 Twitter post, he described Chinese government censorship as "really immature and out of touch."

    The next year, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that has since been taken down, Liu described China as a "third world" country where people were "dying of starvation" when he and his parents left. A screenshot of his comments has circulated on Weibo, a popular social networking platform in China, with one user commenting: "Then why does he play a Chinese character?"

    Michael Berry, director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, said Liu's comments had been "taken out of context and politicized."

    "Once a cyberattack is waged against a film or individual in China, there are usually a series of talking points that are manufactured and then leveraged to take advantage of rising nationalist sentiment," he said.

    'Reclaiming our culture'

    The anger over Liu's comments echoes that of an earlier episode involving Chloé Zhao, the Beijing-born director of "Nomadland," who made history this year when she became the first woman of color to win the Academy Award for best director.

    "Nomadland" had been scheduled for a limited mainland release, but then a 2013 interview with Filmmaker magazine resurfaced in which Zhao described China as "a place where there are lies everywhere." She was targeted by online commenters who accused her of smearing the nation, and the film was never shown.

    "Eternals," a coming Marvel film directed by Zhao, could also be denied a release date in mainland China.

    Berry said the treatment of Liu and Zhao was a "great tragedy," describing them as China's "best hope for better cross-cultural understanding between China and the West."

    Many moviegoers elsewhere in the region have celebrated "Shang-Chi" for promoting that understanding.

    Officials have not said why "Shang-Chi" has no release date, and the propaganda department of China's ruling Communist Party, which regulates the country's film and TV industry, did not respond to a request for comment. Courtesy of Marvel
    Adrian Hong, 22, a student who has seen the movie twice in Hong Kong, which has its own film regulator, said it spoke volumes about the "beauty and grace of Chinese culture."

    "The beauty of martial art, the concept of yin and yang, the incredible mythical creatures all add to the film," he said.

    Some commenters on Weibo have also questioned the mainland government's apparent decision not to show the film.

    "Why do some people say 'Shang-Chi' offends China?" one user asked. "The movie doesn't offend China, but promotes traditional Chinese culture instead."

    For Tse, the actor and writer, "Shang-Chi" is all the more important because of the rampant anti-Asian racism, discrimination and violence unleashed by the pandemic.

    "This is a pushback for all the Asian hate crimes against us. It's an answer to all the bigots who have been against us for decades," he said. "'Shang-Chi' is us reclaiming our culture. It says globally, culturally, this is a new tide of history."

    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #64
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Beating Bond & Shang-Chi

    The Chinese film beating Bond at the box office
    1 day ago

    The biggest movie in the world right now is not the latest Bond film No Time To Die or even Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

    © Getty Images The Battle at Lake Changjin made over $633m at the box office in just two weeks
    It's a Chinese propaganda film about the 1950s Korean War, centred on a story of Chinese soldiers defeating American troops despite great odds.

    In just two weeks since its release, The Battle at Lake Changjin has made over $633m (£463m) at the box office. This puts it far ahead of Shang-Chi's global earnings of $402m, and in just half the time.

    It is set to become China's highest-grossing film ever.

    Its success is good news for China's pandemic-affected film sector as Covid forced cinemas to shut and reopen multiple times.

    It is even better news for the state, which experts say appears to have nailed a formula of making propaganda appeal to the masses.

    But for Hollywood looking in from the outside, the immense popularity of a local film like this could mean even more challenges ahead as it struggles to gain ground in China - the biggest film market in the world.

    'Patriotic duty to watch the film'
    Commissioned by the Chinese government, The Battle At Lake Changjin is just one of several nationalist films which have become big commercial hits in China in recent years.

    In 2017, Wolf Warrior 2, about a Chinese soldier saving hundreds of people from baddies in an African warzone, raked in a record 1.6bn yuan ($238m; £181m) in just one week.

    Lake Changjin depicts a brutal battle in freezing weather which the Chinese claim was a turning point in the Korean War - formally known in China as the "War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea".

    Thousands of young Chinese soldiers died at the titular lake to secure a crucial win against American forces.

    "I'm so moved by the soldiers' sacrifice. The weather was so extreme, but they managed to win. I feel so proud," an audience member wrote on reviews site Douban.

    It is no coincidence that the film's popularity comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

    "It is definitely related to the ongoing tensions with the US, and has been promoted that way - sometimes indirectly, but still very clearly," said Dr Stanley Rosen, a political science professor from the University of Southern California.

    Another reason behind its success is the co-ordinated push between film studios and the authorities, which tightly control the number and types of films that can be distributed at any one time.

    At the moment, Battle At Lake Changjin has little competition in theatres. Major Hollywood blockbusters No Time To Die and Dune will only open in China at the end of October, despite already showing elsewhere.

    This film was also particularly well-timed - not only did it open during China's National Day holidays starting 1 October, it comes as the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

    "It's almost a patriotic duty to go see this film," said Dr Rosen.

    © Getty Images "It's almost a patriotic duty to go see this film," a film expert said of The Battle at Lake Changjin
    Such propaganda films are often mandatory viewing for CCP cadres, said Dr Florian Schneider, director of the Netherlands' Leiden Asia Centre.

    "Work units frequently organise collective viewings, and with over 95 million card-holding members, that promises a significant box office boost," he told the BBC.

    So far, online reviews of the film are overwhelmingly positive, though some observers pointed out that they may not be entirely true.

    After all, criticism could land one in jail.

    Last week, former journalist Luo Changping was detained for making "insulting comments" on social media about the Chinese soldiers portrayed in the movie.

    Police in Sanya said that he was being held on the charge of "infringing the reputation and honour of national martyrs", and that the case was being investigated.

    "Youngsters [in China] with strong nationalist feelings have a disproportionate voice online," Dr Jonathan Hassid, a political science expert at Iowa State University, told the BBC in an earlier interview.

    "In part, this voice is amplified because legitimate criticism of the state is increasingly unacceptable."

    Blockbuster propaganda
    Still, fans of the film say that they enjoy its blockbuster elements that put it on par with other major mainstream flicks.

    "With a reported $200 million budget, the production values and special effects are very good. The three directors are all good storytellers and well known in China," said Dr Rosen.

    The film's directors Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, and Dante Lam are all celebrated film-makers.

    © Getty Images Directors Dante Lam, Tsui Hark and Chen Kaige are all celebrated film-makers in China
    Tsui is known for special effects and martial arts films, while Lam is famous for his action spectacles involving giant explosives. Chen is celebrated for sensitive portrayals of Chinese life.

    "We all know this is meant to be a patriotic film but I really cried when I watched it. It felt very authentic," one person wrote on microblogging platform Weibo.

    Big headache for Hollywood
    But China's domestic film success is potentially adding to a list of problems that foreign players like Hollywood already face, in their attempt to win over the lucrative Chinese market.

    China has a quota for foreign films, officially allowing only 34 to be shown each year.

    There are some workarounds - if Hollywood co-produces a film with Chinese companies, it will not count towards the quota.

    According to a report last year, Hollywood bosses have also been censoring films to placate the Chinese market, with casting, content, dialogue and plotlines increasingly being tailored to appease censors in Beijing.

    © Getty Images Hollywood and other foreign players want in on the lucrative Chinese film market - but it has not been easy
    But even then, this is no guarantee of box office success, with even some co-productions bombing badly.

    Fantasy-action movie The Great Wall (2016), directed by celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon, was criticised both in the US and China for its "white saviour narrative".

    Despite these challenges, experts told the BBC that foreign film-makers will not be giving up anytime soon.

    Ultimately, China and Hollywood need each other, they say.

    "China wants to remain the No. 1 film market after Covid, and it still needs Hollywood blockbusters - especially those that play on Imax screens or are in 3D since ticket prices are higher - to help it maintain that edge over the North American market," Dr Rosen said.

    "As the production values of Chinese films continue to improve, Hollywood may become less relevant, but Hollywood tells universal stories that China can't or won't tell."
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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