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    2021 Year of the Ox

    CNY is FEB 12, 2021

    China has lychee-flavoured Oreos for CNY
    Not cookie cutter.

    Lean Jinghui | January 12, 2021, 01:53 PM



    Oreos has produced a lot of different flavours over the years.

    In China, some of these very unique flavours have included Wasabi, Green Tea Cake, and Blueberry Ice Cream.

    The lychee-flavoured Oreos are the latest cookie craze to hit China's convenience stores. According to social media, the Oreos are only available between November 2020 and April 2021.

    Each box comes with 8 small packets, in different designs to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
    There's even one with a cow imprint as 2021 is the year of the ox.


    Image via 9gag
    According to Sina, the Oreos are definitely sweet, because "life is as sweet as honey".

    Currently, the lychee-rose oreos can be bought via Ebay at US$22.99 per box, or via T-mall/Taobao.

    Top image via 9gag

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    2020 Year-of-the-Rat
    2021 Year of the Ox
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    Here we go...

    Lunar New Year Stamp Called Out for Being ‘Culturally Inappropriate’
    Carl Samson
    Tue, January 12, 2021, 9:05 AM
    A new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service featuring the Year of the Ox has come under fire for being "culturally inappropriate." The stamp, the second in the agency's Lunar New Year series, is scheduled for release in Chicago on Feb. 2. [caption id="attachment_10084143" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Image via U.S. Postal Service[/caption] Featuring an ox mask, the stamp was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, with original art from artist Camille Chew. "Calling to mind the elaborately decorated masks used in the dragon or lion dances often performed during Lunar New Year parades, these three-dimensional masks are a contemporary take on the long tradition of paper-cut folk art crafts created during this auspicious time of year," USPS said in a press release last month. Weeks ahead of the stamp's release, critics are pointing out multiple reasons why it's "culturally inappropriate." "What is this!? Insult to the Chinese zodiac's Ox and the line across 'forever' suggests... Wrong on many levels," wrote Twitter user Karlin Chan, who calls himself an independent "community advocate/activist."



    According to the postal service, the word “forever” is crossed out in the online image to prevent counterfeiting, CBS reported. Chan's comments eventually reached Facebook. User Peter Zhao questioned why the stamp was designed by a Hispanic artist and why it was predominantly blue, when celebratory colors are supposedly red and gold. "Luis Fitch and Antonio Alcalá also designed the 2020 Rat stamps. I understand the indigenous people in America went by the lunar calendar. But why ask Hispanic artists create a stamp for lunar New Year celebration mainly observed in Asia? Why wouldn’t USPS employ an Asian artist? Why blue, when the celebratory colors are red and gold? Good point you raised Karlin Chan," Zhao wrote. [caption id="attachment_10084138" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The Year of the Ox stamp is one of three Asian American-inspired stamps coming this year. Images via U.S. Postal Service[/caption] Alcalá and Chew responded to Zhao's calls for an explanation, according to AsAm News. "Thank you for your comments. You raised some good points. I worked with the illustrators, consultants and the USPS on each issuance. I will be sure to ask about this with future stamps in this series. And thanks again for your insights," Alcalá reportedly said. Chew, on the other hand, said: "Thank you for your insights. Red and Gold are part of the color palette of the series as a whole, though aren’t as prominently featured in this design. I’ll be keeping your comments in mind moving forward." Two other Asian American-inspired stamps -- Japanese American veterans and Chinese American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu -- are coming this year. Feature Images via U.S. Postal Service (left) and Karlin Chan (right)

    U.S. Postal Service
    Remember, the Rat rode in on the Ox...
    Gene Ching
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    Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max I Chinese New Year – Nian

    Gene Ching
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    Shaolin 'Master' coming to iQIYI

    For the record, I think 少林寺之得宝传奇 translates into Shaolinsi zhi de bao quan qi - Shaolin Temple gain treasure summon occult. Maybe someone with better Mandarin skills can correct me.

    iQIYI's Ultimate Online Cinema Section to Premiere "Shaolin Master" Through PVOD Mode, on First Day of Chinese New Year
    NEWS PROVIDED BY iQIYI
    Feb 03, 2021, 05:26 ET

    BEIJING, Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- iQIYI Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ) ("iQIYI" or the "Company"), an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China, recently announced that action film Shaolin Master, will premiere on its Ultimate Online Cinema section through the Company's premium video-on-demand (PVOD) mode on February 12, the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday.

    iQIYI’s Ultimate Online Cinema Section to Premiere “Shaolin Master” Through PVOD Mode, on First Day of Chinese New Year
    iQIYI's Ultimate Online Cinema section streams high-quality films via PVOD mode, allowing users to view latest releases online at a moderate price. A dozen films launched on the section last year have attracted a growing legion of avid supporters.

    "We hope that Shaolin Master can win favor with our audience as previous PVOD titles have. Going forward, iQIYI's Ultimate Online Cinema section will continue streaming a slate of high-quality films, providing premium new offerings for our subscribers. At the same time, we also hope that the PVOD mode will achieve sustainable development, as we work with platforms and creators to build a healthy online film ecosystem where filmmakers can identify their clients, guarantee their incomes, and seize exciting new opportunities," said Song Jia, Vice President of iQIYI and General Manager of iQIYI Film Business Center.


    Shaolin Master - the only action film scheduled to premiere online during the Spring Festival film season

    With the 2021 Spring Festival film season around the corner, seven films have announced their release in theatres on the first day of the holiday. Shaolin Master is the first and only action film scheduled to premiere online for the first day of the holiday.

    In the Stanley Tong-directed film, Wang Baoqiang plays the role of Ximen Debao, an inn-keeper with no ambition. The film tells the story of how Ximen Debao who was framed for crimes, being trained with an eminent monk to prove his innocence. In recent years, Wang has successfully portrayed a number of impressive comic roles in a series of well-received and lucrative blockbusters such as Lost in Thailand and Detective Chinatown. In this new film, Wang has cast off his stereotypical image of "comic actor" and transformed into an orthodox warrior monk of the Shaolin Master.

    PVOD mode, a new favored option for filmmakers and studios

    In 2020, the PVOD mode became a new avenue for film distribution worldwide as movie theaters were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the Chinese market, iQIYI launched the action comedy film Enter the Fat Dragon last February via PVOD, allowing its subscribers to enjoy a new theatrical film at an affordable price in the comfort of their own homes. In doing so, iQIYI took the lead among Chinese video streaming platforms in exploring the PVOD mode.

    In the past year, more than 10 films have been released on the iQIYI platform through the PVOD mode, including Spring Tide, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, Knockout, and Double World. The online distribution of high-quality theatrical films has quickly covered a wide range of genres. Based on the runaway success of the mode, the Company launched its Ultimate Online Cinema section in July 2020 to promote a systematic PVOD-based cooperation with filmmakers.

    Currently, not only have the films on iQIYI's Ultimate Online Cinema received revenue directly from subscribers, but they have also achieved widespread acclaim from the industry. Spring Tide was nominated for Best Feature Film and Best Director at the 33rd Golden Rooster Awards. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains was selected as one of the top ten films of 2020 by the Cahiers du Cinéma, a famous French film magazine.

    During the 2021 Spring Festival season, iQIYI, together with several other video streaming platforms will release Shaolin Master through the PVOD mode. Through these initiatives, iQIYI is working with a growing number of filmmakers and platforms to create good content, accelerating the development of Direct-to-Consumer in the film industry and building a broader distribution model for filmmakers.
    Funny that the image echoes the old Jet Li original film.

    threads
    Shao Lin Si (少林寺之得宝传奇)
    Year-of-the-Ox
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    2021

    What will this year bring? READ 2021 The Year of the Metal Ox by Wilson Sun (with Gigi Oh and Gene Ching)



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    Saving Chinatowns

    Lunar New Year celebrations this year aim to help struggling Chinatowns
    In New York City, grassroots groups are using the holiday to support businesses that lost 50 percent to 70 percent of revenue since the pandemic began.

    Finnie Fung, the owner of Green Fish Seafood Market in Oakland, Calif., is featured in the recipe zine "Have You Eaten Yet?"Good Good Eatz
    Feb. 5, 2021, 9:37 AM PST
    By Victoria Namkung

    Lunar New Year celebrations usually mean colorful lion dance parades, thumping drumbeats, popping firecrackers and massive feasts with family and friends. While the holiday will certainly look different in the Covid-19 era, wishes for health, wealth and good fortune are louder than ever in America's struggling Chinatowns.

    The Year of the Ox begins Feb. 12, and organizations, grassroots groups and volunteers throughout the country are using the Lunar New Year to raise money for Chinatown businesses hit especially hard since the onset of the pandemic. Creative initiatives and virtual events are using art, storytelling, culture and community to highlight the people behind the businesses that make Chinatowns beloved places for countless Asian Americans.

    New York City's Welcome to Chinatown, founded by friends and Manhattan Chinatown residents Victoria Lee and Jennifer Tam, partnered with the Abrons Arts Center and Wing on Wo's W.O.W. Project to commemorate Lunar New Year with "From Chinatown, With Love," a photo calendar shot by Mischelle Moy, featuring products from 18 Manhattan Chinatown businesses, such as Lucky King Bakery and Bangkok Center Grocery.

    "We want people to see the Chinatown we see as locals," Tam said. "Chinatown is so much more than a place for tourism or gathering."


    IMAGE: The calendar 'From Chinatown, With Love'
    The calendar "From Chinatown, With Love" features photos of 18 Manhattan Chinatown businesses.Mischelle Moy
    The classic Chinese-style calendar, which will be given to customers who spend $20 at participating businesses, is accompanied by a neighborhood Lunar New Year gift guide filled with local insider tips.

    Tam said her nonprofit has raised more than $650,000 for Manhattan's Chinatown since it was founded 10 months ago.

    Welcome to Chinatown is also selling a Lunar New Year Collection of merchandise benefiting six Manhattan Chinatown businesses and a nonprofit.

    It's estimated that businesses in the area have lost 50 percent to 70 percent of their revenue since the pandemic — and the subsequent xenophobia — began in January 2020.

    Alice Liu is a second-generation proprietor of Grand Tea & Imports, which got a grant from Welcome to Chinatown's Longevity Fund in September.

    "It was really exciting and offered a lot of hope, because being a Chinatown small business, we've been closed out of a lot of mainstream funding," said Liu, whose family business is featured in the calendar and the merchandise collection. "Having [a relief program] made for us, by us and administered in a way that small businesses in Chinatown are used to creates a lot more trust."

    Another New York-based group, Send Chinatown Love, has created an illustrated map of Asian American-owned restaurants and gift shops for its Lunar New Year Crawl through Chinatowns in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

    Other organizations have also taken design-forward approaches to supporting local businesses.

    Save Our Chinatowns and Good Good Eatz teamed up to produce "Have You Eaten Yet?" a recipe zine and red envelope bundle to benefit Yuen Hop Noodle Co., Cam Anh Deli and Green Fish Seafood Market in Chinatown in Oakland, California.


    IMAGE: 'Have You Eaten Yet?'
    "Have You Eaten Yet?" — a recipe zine created by Save Our Chinatowns and Good Good Eatz — benefits businesses in Oakland's Chinatown.Courtesy of Save Our Chinatowns
    Daphne Wu of Oakland, a Save Our Chinatowns volunteer who conceptualized, wrote and edited the zine, said, "A recipe zine is a way to inspire folks to go out and support these businesses and also get to know the owners a bit more personally and intimately."

    The printed copies sold out within two hours of the zine's launch Jan. 25, but digital copies are available with an online donation.

    Wu said people feel deep connections to Oakland Chinatown because "there are so few places in the world where us third-culture kids can feel at home and a sense of belonging."

    But even with the support of grassroots initiatives like Save Our Chinatowns, which raised $40,000 last year, Chinatowns in San Francisco and Oakland must fight to stay open because of Covid-19-related closings and racially motivated fears.

    Business owners like Anh Nguyen of Cam Anh Deli, who arrived in Oakland in the early 1990s as a refugee from Vietnam, are dedicated to moving forward.

    "A lot of people stepped up — it's just incredible," said Nguyen, who contributed a recipe for lemongrass tofu to the zine, which was illustrated by six artists, including Save Our Chinatowns founder Jocelyn Tsaih. "I want to tell people Chinatown is a safe place to be and we will go on and continue to serve the neighborhood and community as long as we can."

    Traditional fundraising events are also underway for Lunar New Year.

    The 43rd-anniversary L.A. Chinatown Firecracker 5/10K, Kiddie Run, Bike Ride & Paw'er Dog Walk on Feb. 27 is being held virtually this year, giving participants the flexibility to complete their events at the time and date of their choosing.

    It is one of the largest and longest-running Lunar New Year charity runs in the nation, and 100 percent of net proceeds are reinvested locally.

    Similarly, the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center is holding a free Lunar New Year Virtual 5K/1 Mile Run/Walk, "We Love Boston Chinatown," Feb. 12-15.

    The organization encourages entrants to run or walk in Chinatown and patronize its spots in the process. Prizes will include gift certificates from Boston Chinatown restaurants to encourage spending in the community.

    Social service agencies are also using digital spaces to encourage donations — and visits — to Chinatown.

    The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, or PCDC, plans a virtual Chinese New Year celebration Feb. 26 to benefit programs for Chinatown.

    PCDC's Ai Love Chinatown campaign, which was launched in August to support small businesses affected by Covid-19, has produced a video series that spotlights Asian American-owned businesses.

    "We wanted to bring that personality to people's attention to show there's real people standing behind these businesses, and they're hurting, but they're still taking the time to take care of their customers and workers," PCDC Project Manager Lamei Zhang said.

    Tam of Welcome to Chinatown said the immense nostalgia and love people have for the historic neighborhood is why people are eager to volunteer and donate money to help.

    "We always say we hope when we have kids of our own, that they get to know the Chinatown that we grew up experiencing," Tam said. "People can't fathom the idea of Chinatown disappearing."
    I went through SF Chinatown early in the pandemic last year, before the lockdowns, and I've never seen it so barren...like a ghost town.

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    The Shaolin Temple: Legend of Debao

    The Shaolin Temple: Legend of Debao is a much better translation of Shao Lin Si (少林寺之得宝传奇). Changing the title of this thread now.
    China’s streaming giants unite for online Chinese New Year movie season
    By Global Times
    Published: Feb 07, 2021 06:23 PM


    The launch ceremony for the online Chinese New Year movie season Photo: Courtesy of the China Film Association

    China's three streaming giants, iQIYI, Tencent Video and Youku, are working together to introduce nearly 20 movies to their platforms for the upcoming Spring Festival. The season was kicked off by representatives from the three at a ceremony on Friday.

    Online releases have been an important part of the world's largest film market since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. The upcoming Spring Festival online releases include not only new films like The Shaolin Temple: Legend of Debao and Dreams of Getting Rich, but also recent popular movies such as The Rescue and Shock Wave 2.

    Aimed at fully meeting the entertainment needs of millions of Chinese families who are choosing to stay put during the festival instead of traveling amid the epidemic, the move has been encouraged by China's regulator authority the National Radio and Television Administration. Li Zhongzhi, deputy director-general of the department in charge of online video and audio programs, told media that the "online release season marks an important milestone in China's online movie development," going on to note that he hopes the three platforms can "work together to contribute content for the holiday."

    "The upcoming season will be an unforgettable one as it marks the first time that cinema and online releases, studios and streaming platforms have united for an online release Spring Festival season," said Yang Xianghua, vice president of iQIYI.
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    Year-of-the-Ox
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    NEW 2021 Year of the Ox T-shirts & Hoodies!

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    Well, this is on point

    Not sure if we covered this here before. I can't remember and the terms are too general to search out.

    WLF to Create China's "Kung Fu Spring Festival Gala”, the Most "Hardcore" Chinese Power Blooms in Macau

    WLF to create China's "Kung Fu Spring Festival Gala", the most "hardcore" Chinese power blooms in Macau (Photo: Business Wire)

    February 11, 2021 03:44 AM Eastern Standard Time
    MACAU, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In China, in addition to the annual CCTV Chinese New Year Gala on New Year's Eve, there is another Chinese New Year "gala" that is highly anticipated and paid attention to, and that is the "Kung Fu Spring Festival Gala" as it is called by the majority of boxing fans. The "Martial Arts Global Kung Fu Festival", which was launched in 2012-2013 season, is now in its ninth year, with more than 180 well-known fighter fighters from 32 countries and regions. More than 180 celebrities from 32 countries and regions have shown their skills in the ring.

    “Top of Hengqin - Martial Arts Style 2021 Global Kung Fu Gala”

    Tweet this
    On January 23, 2021, the 9th "Kung Fu Spring Festival Gala" - "Top of Hengqin - Martial Arts Style 2021 Global Kung Fu Gala" ended at the Studio City of Macau. On February 13 (the second day of the Lunar New Year), it will be broadcast on Henan TV. At this special time, the success of the "Global Kung Fu Festival" not only highlights China's strength and sense of responsibility in the fight against COVID-19, but also boosts the global determination and confidence in the fight against COVID-19 with the tenacious and bloodthirsty spirit of the contestants.

    This event is the first match of the five-year strategic cooperation between Henan TV Wulinfeng and the Greater Bay Area Martial Arts Cultural Association to land in Macau. "Chinese Captain" Fu Gaofeng, "Demon Blade" Wei Rui, "Little Tiger" Tie Yinghua, "Divine Condor" Jia Aoqi, "Majestic Warrior" Zhang Kaiyin, "Dafei" Wang Pengfei ... Each of the 22 Chinese fighters in the 14 tournaments carried their own aura and were clad in honor, and the high level of their performance was the most luxurious Chinese stand-up lineup of the century.

    In the future, "Wulinfeng" will take stand-up fighting as its core, form a combat matrix with MMA event "Wulin Cage Match" and youth combat event "Wulin New Generation", and steadily promote international martial arts cultural exchange and cooperation, making "Wulinfeng" the most hardcore Chinese power in the international combat world

    Contacts
    Henan TV
    Mark Du
    86-13503710060
    https://www.hntv.tv/
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    Xin Nian Kuai Le!

    HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR! READ Chinese New Year 2021: Year of the Iron Ox by Gene Ching



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    2021 Spring Festival Gala: Wushu – A revered part of Chinese culture

    Gene Ching
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    record breaking

    Feb 12, 2021 9:59am PT
    ‘Detective Chinatown 3’ Tops Chinese New Year Day With $163 Million, Breaking Record for Best Debut in a Single Market

    By Rebecca Davis


    Courtesy of WanDa Pictures
    The world’s largest film market is living up to its title with world-record-setting sales. “Detective Chinatown 3” shot past strong competition, as predicted, on its Chinese New Year opening day on Friday, notching a record-breaking $163 million (RMB1.05 billion) in sales despite poor word of mouth.

    The sum marks the highest ever opening day tally for a film in a single market, beating out former title-holder “Avengers: Endgame,” which grossed $157 million in North America on its first day in 2019.

    “Detective Chinatown” sales on Friday accounted for more than 60% of China’s total new year’s day box office nationwide, which surpassed that of 2019 at $268 million (RMB1.73 billion).


    The massive commercial success of director Chen Sicheng’s comedic mystery also propelled Imax to new heights. As of Friday evening local time, the firm “very confidently” projected full-day China earnings of $7.7 million from three films, 18% more than on Chinese New Year’s Day in 2019. Almost all of that revenue — some $7.4 million, or 96% — came from “Detective Chinatown 3,” which was shot on Imax cameras.

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    That marks the highest opening day for a Chinese film in Imax of all time. It also marks the third-highest ever opening day for any Imax film, foreign or local, in China, behind “Avengers: Endgame” ($14 million) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($8.1 million).

    According to data from the Maoyan industry tracker, 38% of all scheduled Friday screenings in China were for “Detective Chinatown.” They saw 69.4% attendance rates, meaning that most screenings were almost sold out each time, given the government’s current 75% cap on max cinema capacity to curb the spread of COVID-19 over the holidays.

    Maoyan is currently estimating a whopping $976 million (RMB6.3 billion) total run for “Detective Chinatown 3” within the China market alone. That would be almost double the world’s top grossing picture of 2020, “The Eight Hundred,” which earned $461 million, and make the film the country’s highest earner in history. Current local estimates expect the film to reach $400 million over the three-day period of its first weekend.

    Audiences have been yearning to see the Tokyo-set third installment of the “Detective Chinatown” franchise since last Chinese New Year, when it was a frontrunner but was extensively delayed due to COVID-19-induced cinema closures at the time.

    Nevertheless, the film’s high volume of ticket sales comes despite poor word of mouth online. It has a mere 6.8 out of 10 rating on the taste-making Douban platform, where a third of users have given it just three out of five stars and 6% have given it the lowest possible one-star rating.

    Many were put off by excessive product placement amidst the action. “I have never seen such shameless acts of inserting advertisements into a film before,” wrote one top comment on the site liked thousands of times. Another two-star review summed up the caper: “In a runtime of 136 minutes, it’s 110 minutes of running + 15 minutes of father-daughter interaction + 10 minutes of deduction + 1 minute of commercials.”


    Numerous others felt fatigued by the franchise’s over-the-top comedic style. “You can tell from the first five minutes that this film is a dud. Everyone in it is screaming,” wrote one, while another chimed: “[Lead actor] Wang Baoqiang’s style of pretending to be crazy and stupid has reached the point of just being disgusting.”

    Others complained that some of the gags were disrespectful to healthcare workers and women.

    It’s worth noting that Chinese box office darlings of years past — including “Wolf Warrior 2,” the 2019 Chinese New Year breakout sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth,” and “Nezha,” the country’s top three grossers — were all unexpected hits that saw slower box office growth propelled by strong word of mouth over time, rather than a sudden first day explosion in sales.

    The Lunar New Year holiday, which this year runs from Feb. 11 to 17, is typically the most lucrative period of the year for China — a mere week in which most cinemas make more than a tenth of their annual revenue. This year, seven major tentpoles debuted on Feb. 12, with two more smaller films set to open on Valentine’s Day.

    The light-hearted time-travel-themed rom-com “Hi, Mom” from writer-director-actor Jia Ling came in second with $35.5 million (RMB229 million), while “A Writer’s Odyssey,” an action-adventure film from Lu Yang (“Brotherhood of Blades”), ranked third with $21.4 million (RMB138 million).

    In fourth was the perennial new year children’s favorite, animated “Boonie Bears” franchise film “The Wild Life,” which earned $17.7 (RMB114 million). Director Li Weiran’s live-action fantasy “The YinYang Master” came in fifth with $12.8 million (RMB82.4 million).

    “New Gods: Nezha Reborn,” another cartoon depiction of the popular folk god Nezha, ranked sixth with a $8.97 million (RMB57.9 million) debut, while crime thriller “Endgame” was the last amongst the new releases, opening to just $6.94 million (RMB44.8 million).

    Box office ranking ultimately matched up exactly with each film’s success in pre-sales, according to Maoyan. In that category, “Detective Chinatown 3” had far and away led the pack, with pre-sale ticket sales of $148 million (RMB955 million) as of early Friday evening — $104 million (RMB674 million) of which were for opening day. Its closest competitor, “Hi, Mom,” sold $34 million (RMB219 million), while third place “A Writer’s Odyssey” sold $13.4 million (RMB86.4 million).

    “The outstanding performance of the film market is due to a sufficient supply of films during Spring Festival… of diversified content and genres,” wrote an analysis piece published by the People’s Daily newspaper, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece.

    Another major factor, it said, was that due to COVID-19, citizens have been strongly urged to celebrate the new year in place without travelling home, meaning that many — particularly urban migrant workers who would typically return to rural hometowns — are experiencing an unconventional holiday in which movie-going may appear to be a more attractive option.
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    2021 Year of the Ox

    Netflix Picks Up Chinese Animated Feature ‘New Gods: Nezha Reborn’
    1:29 AM PST 2/17/2021 by Patrick Brzeski

    Courtesy of Netflix / Light Chaser Animation Studios
    'New Gods - Nezha Reborn'

    Produced by pioneering Beijing-based studio Light Chaser Animation, the film has earned $36 million since its premiere last weekend over China’s Lunar New Year holiday.
    Netflix has acquired worldwide streaming rights to Chinese animated film New Gods: Nezha Reborn, which opened theatrically in China last weekend at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

    The film is produced by pioneering Beijing-based studio Light Chaser Animation. The movie is based on the oft-adapted classical Chinese novel The Investiture of the Gods, but Light Chaser has given the material a vivid pop-culture spin in a bid to generate excitement among Chinese youth.

    Those efforts have yielded a modest success at China’s booming box office. Among the seven Chinese New Year titles that released last Friday, Nezha Reborn currently ranks fifth with $36.5 million in total sales, according to ticketing service Maoyan. But the movie has been a favorite among China's more discerning filmgoers. On the influential movie reviews site Douban, which tends to be a reliable barometer for film quality in China, Nezha Reborn ranks second best among the new releases, with a user reviews score of 7.4. It's trailing only the ascendent box-office champ Hi, Mom, which has a Douban score of 8.2 and total earnings of $403 million. The solid critical reception suggests strong legs for Nezha Reborn for the rest of the holiday and beyond.

    Nezha Reborn was created over a period of four years by the same creative team that produced Light Chaser’s 2019 hit White Snake, a co-production with Warner Bros. that earned $61.6 million in China. The new feature is directed by veteran animator Zhao Ji, who also co-directed White Snake. The voice cast includes Yang Tianxiang, Xuan Xiaoming, Ling Zhenhe, Zhu Ke’er and Li Shimeng.

    Netflix hasn’t been able to launch its service in China because of the Beijing government’s ban on foreign streaming platforms. But in recent years the company has acquired a number of major Chinese blockbusters — such as sci-fi hit The Wandering Earth and comic book adaptation Animal World — making them available to the Chinese diaspora audience around the world.

    A streaming release date for Nezha Reborn is yet to be revealed. The official summary for the film is as follows: "Set in a mythical world, Donghai City, a melting pot where gods and people from different cultures co-exist, Nezha is reborn as Li Yunxiang, a young daredevil, 3,000 years after the original Battle of the Gods. Yunxiang grows up as a cool regular boy, who earns his living as a delivery courier. His love for motor racing and adventure prevail even as he discovers his true identity as Nezha. Yunxiang encounters his mortal enemies, the Dragon Clan, who are now living as super wealthy businessmen, feared and revered in Donghai City. Boss De, the Dragon King of the East China Sea or The Patriarch of the Dragon Clan, vows to revitalise the Dragon Clan in the new world. He is accompanied in this film by his three sons, The Three Princes, who are intent on killing Nezha to avenge their clan. New Gods: Nezha Reborn tells the story of how Yunxiang discovers his true identity and valiantly battles the Dragon Clan, their masked assassin, and other enemies, to protect his friends and family in a tale of life and death."

    PATRICK BRZESKI

    patrick.brzeski@thr.com
    @thr


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    Gene Ching
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  14. #14
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    Chinese New Year Box Office Hits $1.2B, Sets Record High Over Holiday Period


    By Nancy Tartaglione
    International Box Office Editor/Senior Contributor
    @DeadlineNancy

    February 17, 2021 12:40pm


    Wanda Pictures
    The Chinese New Year box office achieved yet another milestone Wednesday, with grosses for the holiday period growing to an estimated RMB 7.78 billion ($1.2 billion). This beats the previous all-time high set during the comparable 2019 holiday (RMB 5.9B). China often outdoes itself, but the fact that 2021’s Lunar New Year frame came with Covid capacity restrictions makes the performance even more staggering.

    Factors working in the session’s favor included a diverse slate of seven new local titles (including two powerhouses at the top), as well as increased ticket prices in some areas, additional screens versus 2019 and a reduction in travel which made moviegoing the first-choice activity for people who were not journeying to see family as would normally be the case during the holiday.

    After setting new records for opening day and opening weekend in a single market (February 12-14), Wanda Pictures’ Detective Chinatown 3 has grossed RMB 3.56B ($551 million) through Wednesday. It is not only far and away the top movie of the year globally, but is also nearly 20% bigger than 2020’s top worldwide title, China’s The Eight Hundred — and this after just six days of play, with more to come.

    While DC3 led the weekend, Beijing Culture’s time-travel comedy Hi, Mom was atop the daily charts from Monday-Wednesday and has grossed RMB 2.73B ($423M). Hi, Mom is projected by Maoyan to top out at RMB 5.28 ($817M), which would make it the No. 2 movie ever in the market. DC3 is eyeing RMB 4.51B ($698M), estimates Maoyan, a 33% local currency increase on the previous installment in the popular franchise.

    Overall, there were seven new local movies for the New Year session which rolled out beginning February 12; the public holiday in China ran from February 11-17, though celebrations continue. Through Wednesday, the titles above are rounded out by A Writer’s Odyssey (RMB 538.2/$83.32M), Boonie Bears: The Wild Life (RMB 407M/$63M), New Gods: Nezha Reborn (RMB240.1M/$37.2M), The Yin Yang Master (RMB 211M/$33M) and Endgame (151M/$23.4M).

    Xinhua reports that more than 155 million tickets were sold during the New Year frame, up from 130M in 2019. That’s reflective of pent-up demand for big new titles — especially given Detective Chinatown 3 was delayed by a year when Covid shuttered cinemas in early 2020 — and in part reflective of the increased number of screens in the market, which was 75,500 by the end of 2020, compared to just under 70,000 at the end of 2019.

    China was the first country severely hit by the coronavirus, and implemented strict lockdown measures across the board. After six months of cinema closures, it slowly re-acclimated audiences. That began in July 2020 with some import titles whose releases had been delayed by Covid (think: Dolittle) and library movies like the first Harry Potter and some older Christopher Nolan pics. Once the market was primed, China released The Eight Hundred to huge results last August. Notes an international exec, “What China is showing is that where the virus is under control and people feel safe, they’re coming back (to cinemas) in droves.” We’ve seen some similar phenomena in Korea and Japan, although with more Covid ebbs and flows affecting momentum.

    The early estimated RMB 7.78B Chinese New Year period (which also includes holdover play from movies like Disney-Pixar’s Soul), is already 38% of the total box office for 2020 in China. It’s also about 10% of 2020 global box office, 12% of international box office and 55% of domestic box office last year.

    For the first month and a half of 2021, China box office has crossed RMB 10B, according to state news media, meaning it’s already more than 50% of 2020’s full gross. The good news out of China hopefully serves as an indicator of recovery that will be seen in other markets as they get back up and running with new product.
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  15. #15
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    Lunar New Year holiday consumption in China jumps to more than US$127 billion

    Consumption for the holiday in 2021 sees a 28.7 per cent increase from 2020
    Spending still below the amount in 2019, which was over 1 trillion yuan

    Linda Lew
    Published: 9:30am, 18 Feb, 2021


    A man makes an offering as a lion dance team perform inside a mall in Beijing on Tuesday, on the fifth day of the Lunar New Year. Photo: AFP
    Chinese consumers spent about 821 billion yuan (US$127 billion) on shopping and dining during this year’s Spring Festival holiday, an increase from 2020 but still below the amount in 2019, which was over 1 trillion yuan, according to government data.
    China has been battling Covid-19 outbreaks in a number of provinces this year. As a result, the annual Lunar New Year mass migration home and consumption were disrupted as health authorities required people from high- and medium-risk areas to spend the holiday where they worked or studied, and avoid large gatherings or unnecessary travel.
    The 2021 figure, released on Wednesday by China’s Ministry of Commerce, also revealed the hit to last year’s holiday spending, as statistics for that period were not published last year.
    Consumption for the holiday in 2021 saw a 28.7 per cent increase from 2020, which meant last year’s spending stood at about 638 billion yuan.

    Security guards patrol in a shopping district during the Lunar New Year holiday in Beijing, China on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
    “2020 was a highly unusual year that saw complicated domestic and international macro-environments, especially due to the serious impact from Covid-19,” said a January 2021 report by the Ministry of Commerce that evaluated consumption in the last year.
    “The pandemic has hit the consumer market like never before, with the total retail sales of consumer goods falling by 20.5 per cent compared to the same time last year,” the report said.
    But as the outbreak came under control, consumption rebounded. Total retail sales of consumer goods recorded positive growth again in August last year, and maintained a growing trend in the past five months, reflecting the vitality of China’s domestic demand, said the ministry report.
    China was the only major economy in the world to record economic growth in 2020, at 2.3 per cent. The World Bank estimated a 3.6 per cent contraction for the US economy last year and 7.4 per cent drop for the euro zone.
    Economic growth in China for 2021 was still uncertain as analysts said that will depend on the success of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and government policies to stimulate the recovery.
    Investment bank Natixis wrote in a February research note that business sentiment has dropped slightly due to the tightened Covid-19 containment measures in China before the Lunar New Year but that economic activities were growing.
    “However, the economic situation down the road is still uncertain,” Natixis wrote, depending on how the Covid-19 situation evolved and the roll-out of the vaccine.
    “Economic situation is likely to improve if the containment measures can again put the Covid-19 situation under control,” it added.
    I hope the rest of the global economy can bounce back with the same resilience.
    Gene Ching
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