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Thread: The Battle at Lake Changjin 2: Water Gate Bridge

  1. #1
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    The Battle at Lake Changjin 2: Water Gate Bridge

    Jan 13, 2022 1:37pm PT
    ‘Battle at Lake Changjin’ Sequel to Hit China Theaters in February Amid Crowded Lunar New Year Lineup

    By Rebecca Davis

    "Battle at Lake Changjin 2"
    “The Battle at Lake Changjin 2: Water Gate Bridge,” the sequel to China’s highest grossing film of all time, will debut on Feb. 1, the first day of the lucrative Chinese New Year holiday.

    The weeklong vacation is typically China’s biggest box office period of the year and thus is subject to intense competition. This year, “Lake Changjin 2” is set to go up against 10 other hotly anticipated titles. The sequel currently ranks third in popularity based on votes from the “want to watch” metric from the Maoyan database.

    Its top competitor is “Nice View,” the next feature from “Dying to Survive” director Wen Muye, which currently has the highest number of people indicating they “want to watch” the film on the Maoyan platform, with 447,000 votes. (Typically, films with more than 100,000 “want to watch” votes can expect a strong box office showing.)

    Trailing “Nice View” in popularity is director Han Han’s “Only Fools Rush In,” with 389,000 votes. The comedy “Too Cool To Kill” from director Xing Wenxiong currently clocks in as the fourth most-anticipated with 344,000 votes, followed by the annual installment of the animated “Boonie Bears” franchise “Back to Earth” (225,000 votes) and then “Sniper,” from director Zhang Yimou (79,000).

    The other titles debuting that Tuesday so far include Olympic winter sports film “Breaking Through” and four other children’s animations.

    Last year, China raked in a record $1.2 billion (RMB7.8 billion) in ticket sales over the Chinese New Year holiday, making a tenth of the global 2020 box office in just six days. The period marked the first time that the country’s single-day box office exceeded RMB1 billion ($155 million) for five consecutive days.

    The top films last year were “Detective Chinatown 3” and family dramedy “Hi, Mom.”

    “The Battle at Lake Changjin” has been in Chinese theaters since its National Day holiday debut in late September, grossing a whopping $907 million (RMB5.77 billion) so far.
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    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    $100M+ premiere

    China Box Office: ‘Battle of Lake Changjin 2’ Roars Past $100M on First Day of Chinese New Year
    Maintaining a trend of highly nationalistic movies at local multiplexes, the new blockbuster is a patriotic war epic celebrating China's victory over the U.S. during a key battle in the Korean War.

    BY PATRICK BRZESKI

    FEBRUARY 1, 2022 4:09AM

    'The Battle of Lake Changjin 2' BONA FILM GROUP

    China’s highly lucrative Lunar New Year box office race is underway and The Battle of Lake Changjin 2, as expected, has staked out a commanding early lead.

    The much anticipated patriotic war sequel hit $100 million (RMB 636 million) by mid-evening Tuesday, the first day of the weeklong holiday. Battle of Lake Changjin 2 also is leading the race for the Chinese audience’s ratings favorite, earning high social scores of 9.6 on ticketing service Maoyan, 9.6 on Alibaba’s Taopiaopiao ticketing platform, and 7.4 on popular reviews site Douban.

    China’s New Year box office rankings often undergo a rapid reshuffling once audience expectations meet the reality of the audience’s reaction to the actual movies; but with such strong social scores, Battle of Lake Changjin 2‘s frontrunner status appears secure.

    Currently in second place is blogger-turned-director Han Han’s road trip drama-comedy Only Fools Rush In with $35 million and counting, followed by slapstick comedy Too Cool to Kill at $33 million, director Wen Muye’s (Dying to Survive) drama Nice View with $28 million, family animation Boonie Bears: Back to Earth with $18 million and Zhang Yimou’s Korean war biopic Sharpshooter with $7.7 million.

    Maoyan is currently forecasting Battle of Lake Changjin 2 to finish its run with around $938 million in total ticket sales. The company’s projections also tend to undergo heavy revision later in a movie’s release cycle, but if the early prediction holds roughly true, The Battle of Lake Changjin 2 should become China’s new all-time box office champion. The record is currently held by the film’s predecessor, the first Battle of Lake Changjin, which opened just last fall during China’s Oct. 1 National Day holiday and went on to earn $913 million.

    Battle of Lake Changjin 2 won’t break China’s single-day box office record — RMB 1.05 billion (or $163 million at the time) — set by Wanda’s Detective Chinatown 3 last year. But the war sequel has much better social scores than those of Detective Chinatown 3, which ultimately proved top-heavy, finishing with $685 million while fellow comedy Hi, Mom soared past it and topped out at $822 million.

    A lingering question for the blockbusters on release is how much the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open Friday, will cut into theatergoing during the tail end of their holiday earnings run.

    Like its predecessor, Battle of Lake Changjin 2 is a chest-thumping, emotionally stirring pseudo-propagandistic action movie glorifying China’s victory over U.S. forces during a key battle in the Korean War (known in China as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea”). The new installment focuses on the Chinese military’s mission to take out the Water Gate Bridge, an important path of retreat for American troops.

    Both films star local action hero Wu Jing and heartthrob Jackson Yee, and somewhat uncommonly, the two titles are co-directed by a trio of established Chinese hitmakers, Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam.

    Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong set the patriotic tone for the film’s reception when its trailer was unveiled for Chinese media in mid-January. “The Spring Festival is an occasion when Chinese families get together,” the executive said. “Today’s union is possible because our ancestors risked their lives in battles. We should remember what they sacrificed on this special occasion.”

    Updates to come…
    Knew this would happen.

    Keep meaning to review Part 1...
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    $901.5 m

    China’s New Year Box Office Grosses May Hit New High
    Leading the charge is 'The Battle at Lake Changjin 2: Water Gate Bridge,' the sequel to the country's top-grossing movie of all time with $901.5 million

    BY PATRICK BRZESKI

    JANUARY 29, 2022 3:31PM

    'The Battle at Lake Changjin' COURTESY A REALLY HAPPY FILM
    As moviegoing in North America and Europe is getting battered all over again thanks to the omicron variant, China’s theatrical film sector is revving up to set a slew of new box-office records.

    The country’s weeklong Chinese New Year holiday period, always a bonanza for local studios and exhibitors, kicks off Feb. 1, and analysts believe a bumper crop of high-profile potential blockbusters — eight local titles are currently scheduled for simultaneous release this year — could lift the market to unprecedented heights.

    During Chinese New Year in 2021, ticket sales totaled a record $1.2 billion, with family comedy Hi, Mom leading the way with an eventual total haul of $821 million (Wanda’s comedy Detective Chinatown 3 wasn’t far behind with $685 million). Ticket revenue during the seven-day holiday amounted to a whopping 16.6 percent of China’s full-year box office total and the full month of February took at 25 percent share of the year’s sales (Unfortunately for Hollywood, Beijing blocks all foreign film releases during the family holiday — a practice U.S. trade negotiators have lamented with little effect for over a decade — so all gains go only to the local Chinese industry).

    Analysts are expecting more of the same for 2022. “This year’s Chinese New Year season could reach a new high-water mark of $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion (RMB 8 billion to RMB 8.5 billion),” says Rance Pow, president of cinema industry consultancy Artisan Gateway.

    Leading the charge is The Battle at Lake Changjin 2: Water Gate Bridge, the second installment in a nationalistic war saga about China’s real-life victory over the U.S. in a key battle during the Korean War. Co-directed by a trio of Chinese hitmakers, Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam, the franchise’s first film was only released last September and went on to become China’s top-grossing movie of all time with $901.5 million. China’s state-backed Global Times newspaper reported Jan. 23 that the film was leading the ticket pre-sales race with $5.64 million with a little over a week to go before opening day. The outlet went so far as to forecast that The Battle at Lake Changjin 2 would become the first Chinese film to earn over $1 billion (RMB 6.5 billion)

    China’s box office outcomes are notoriously tricky to predict with confidence, however, as frontrunners have often been felled by negative audience reaction within the early hours of their release, and dark horse contenders have then galloped ahead. “Social media word of mouth in China can be a powerful determinant of a film’s commercial success, and the market has shown an adeptness for adjusting to audience preference if the pre-season favorite does not launch quickly,” explains Pow.

    Other top contenders this year include drama Nice View, director Wen Muye’s follow-up to his 2018 hit, Dying to Survive ($451 million); and road trip comedy-drama Only Fools Rush In, from former blogger turned fan favorite director Han Han (his previously release, Pegasus, earned $256 million in 2019); local director legend Zhang Yimou’s Korean War biopic, Sharpshooter; and comedy caper Too Cool to Kill, from relative newcomer, Xing Wenxiong; among much else.

    The only major Western entertainment business that enjoys regular participation in the Chinese New Year earnings sensation is Imax, which operates over 750 screens in the country. Each year, the Canadian exhibitor places its bets by picking one or two titles to covert into its giant screen format. In 2020, Imax has selected three expected winners, Battle at Lake Changjin 2 (which was filmed for Imax), Nice View and Han Han’s Only Fools Rush In.


    SOURCE: ARTISAN GATEWAY
    For the record, I circled back and reviewed part 1.

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    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    Now $400M?

    On track to be the biggest haul of 2022...

    China Box Office: ‘Lake Changjin 2’ Hits $400M, But Lunar New Year Revenue Trailing 2021
    China's latest nationalistic war blockbuster will soar past $500 million this week, but it's unlikely to break as many local box office records as many initially expected.

    BY PATRICK BRZESKI

    FEBRUARY 7, 2022 1:29AM

    'The Battle of Lake Changjin 2' BONA FILM GROUP

    China’s latest nationalistic war epic The Battle at Lake Changjin 2 surged past the $400 million mark on Monday, after earning $395 million over the first seven days of China’s Lunar New Year holiday.

    The muscular performance falls a bit short of some of the wilder forecasts analysts in China and abroad had been entertaining for the tentpole though. Prior to the film’s release, China’s state-backed Global Times tabloid predicted that The Battle at Lake Changjin 2 would become China’s first film to earn more than $1 billion. As of Monday, however, Chinese ticketing service Maoyan had pared back its own previously bullish estimates, dropping the forecast for the film to about $620 million (the company’s original predictions topped $800 million).

    The downshift, reflecting less heat in China’s 2022 Lunar New Year theatrical market than expected, has applied to the country’s whole slate of holiday tentpoles. During the seven-day festival period — during which the bulk of the Chinese population is off work, relaxing, celebrating and luxuriating with family and friends — total theatrical revenue totaled $941.6 million (RMB 6 billion), according to regional consultancy Artisan Gateway. That’s down 21 percent from 2021’s huge Chinese New Year haul of $1.2 billion (RMB 7.8 billion), but slightly better, in both local currency terms and dollars, from 2019’s pre-coronavirus pandemic holiday total of $881.3 million (or RMB 5.9 billion at the time).

    The takeaway signals a solid outcome for China’s major distributors and exhibitors this year, albeit a slight comedown from the overwhelmingly energized 2021 holiday frame, when Chinese filmgoers returned to the cinema en masse after approximately 12 months of movie theater shutdowns due to China’s early experience of the pandemic. Lacking that pent-up demand — and buffeted by omicron COVID scares in many major cities, and with counter-programming competition from the Beijing Olympics — 2022’s holiday box office just didn’t have the same pop.

    But analysts’ pre-holiday bullishness was understandable given the strong and well diversified slate of Chinese tentpoles on offer this Spring Festival.

    The holiday’s second place finisher was New Classic Media’s well received comedy caper Too Cool to Kill, which had brought in $217 million by the end of Sunday. Director Wen Muye’s inspirational drama Nice View, meanwhile, became the holiday favorite of Chinese film industry insiders, who have rallied behind the title on social media. The movie climbed from fifth place into third throughout the course of the week, earning $104.4 million. Fantawild’s family animation Bonnie Bears: Back to Earth scored fourth place with $88 million, while Han Han’s road trip drama Only Fools Rush currently ranks a notch below with about $73 million. Zhang Yimou’s well-reviewed Korean War movie Snipers has overtaken Only Fools Rush In in terms of daily sales while totaling just $41 million, owning to its slower start.

    The holiday tentpoles will have the market all to themselves to continue building on their big numbers until Disney’s Death on the Nile releases in China on Feb. 19.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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    UK gets it

    Feb 10, 2022 3:55am PT
    China’s ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin II’ to Get 25 City U.K.-Ireland Release (EXCLUSIVE)


    By Patrick Frater

    The Battle at Lake Changjin II
    Bona Film Group
    Trinity Cine Asia has acquired rights to mainland Chinese blockbuster “The Battle at Lake Changjin II” for release in the U.K. and Ireland. The deal was struck with sales agency Distribution Workshop.

    Trinity plans an almost immediate release from Feb, 18, 2022, barely two weeks after the film launched in Chinese theaters on Feb. 1, in time for the Lunar New Year holidays. The company plans to have copies of the film in over 25 cities.

    In China the film dominated the holiday season and has accumulated $480 million (RMB3.05 billion) to date, making it the world’s top grossing film in 2022.

    The new film deploys the same three directors, Tsui Hark, Chen Kaige and Dante Lam, as its October 2021 predecessor “The Battle at Lake Changjin.”

    Also known as “Watergate Bridge,” the new film is a further tribute to Chinese heroism during the early part of the Korean War. It sees the 7th Infantry Company of the Chinese voluntary army sent to blow up a critical bridge and prevent the U.S. forces from regrouping at nearby Xingnan Port. Reputed to be China’s most expensive to produce movie, it delivers a series of grueling clashes during the harshest weather conditions.

    “It delivers intense action and a more tight-knit plot than the first offering, all set within the confines of the Sumun Bridge,” said Cine-Asia co-founder and director Cedric Behrel.

    The film’s cast includes Wu Jing (“Wolf Warrior I & II”), pop star-turned actor Jackson Yee (“Better Days”), Zhu Yawen (“The Captain”), Li Chen (“The Eight Hundred”), Elvis Han (“My People My Country”) and Du Chun (“The Eight Hundred”).
    Somehow, I doubt this will get US distribution. Part 1 vilified the US.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #6
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    $626 m

    Mar 6, 2022 9:12pm PT
    ‘Lake Changjin II’ Leads China Box Office for Fifth Weekend

    By Patrick Frater

    Bona Film Group
    ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin II’ headed the mainland Chinese box office for the fifth successive weekend as cinemas await significant new content.

    “Changjin II” earned $7.5 million over the latest weekend, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. The increment expanded the film’s aggregate to $626 million since release on Feb. 1, 2022, the first day of the Lunar New Year holidays.

    The big-budget propaganda film is co-directed by three of Greater China’s most successful directors Chen Kaige, Dante Lam and Tsui Hark. It follows a first instalment which was released in October ond grossed over $900 million to become the all-time record holder in the country.

    Chinese comedy “Too Cool to Kill” and Chinese drama “Nice View” held on to the second and third chart positions that they have occupied for weeks, with $6.0 million and $4.0 million weekend hauls. Their cumulative scores are extended to $403 million and $211 million, respectively.

    Japanese romantic drama “I Fell in Love Like a Flower Bouquet” moved up a peg from its opening weekend to take fourth position and a $2.6 million Friday to Sunday session. After ten days in Chinese cinemas it has accumulated $10.1 million.

    “Boonie Bears: Back to Earth,” the latest in a Chinese-made animated film franchise, played in fifth position having earned $2.3 million over the weekend. It now has a cumulative total of $150 million, the highest total of any yet in the series.

    Artisan Gateway’s data shows that nationwide gross box office slumped to $28.8 million over the three days, the second slowest weekend of the year so far. Year to date box office in China, at $2.12 billion, is now 17% behind 2021 levels. That should be no surprise given the lack of new major new releases coming into the market from any source – local, Hollywood or other foreign imports.

    The March 11-13 weekend will see the release of 2020 Taiwanese romantic drama “Do You Love Me as I Love You” and the 2018 instalment in Yokai Watch Japanese animation franchise “Yokai Watch: Forever Friends.”

    The next Hollywood film to arrive in China is “Uncharted,” which is being given an unusual Monday release on March 14. It will be followed four days later by “The Batman” and 2018 Indian sports movie “Kanaa.”
    Still #1 for 2022 globally, but The Batman is already #3...
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    slippage

    Mar 13, 2022 8:28pm PT
    China Box Office Slips to Lowest Weekend of the Year as COVID Resurfaces


    By Patrick Frater

    ©Raymond Depardon / Magnum Photo
    Mainland China’s theatrical box office slipped to its lowest weekend total of the year as the market suffered a combination of rising COVID cases and a lack of new releases.

    Nationwide box office between Friday and Sunday amounted to just $19.2 million, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway. It was the fifth weekend of decline since the splashy opening of eight major titles on Feb. 1 for the Lunar New Year holidays.

    “The Battle at Lake Changjin II,” which dominated proceedings at New Year, remained at the top of the chart for the sixth consecutive weekend. It earned a lowly $4.6 million over three days for a cumulative total of $635 million.

    Recent days have witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases in China that has caused the return of restrictions in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen as well as epicenters Jilin and Changchun in the Northeast.

    On Sunday, mainland authorities reported a total of 3,100 new locally transmitted cases of the disease in people who have symptoms and those who do not (China’s official count does not include asymptomatic cases as confirmed) and started to allow the results of rapid antigen tests in its data set. These are the highest daily figures in China in two years.

    China is operating a zero-COVID policy which entails largely closed borders, mass vaccination and localized lockdowns. Mainland China has reported 112,000 infections since the beginning of the outbreak in January 2020 and 4,635 deaths. Some 1.24 billion people have received at least one vaccination shot.

    It has been reported locally that some cinemas in Shanghai and Shenzhen were closed in response to the latest spikes. But a nationwide closure of movie theaters, like the five and a half month disruption in 2020, has so far been avoided.

    Another factor in the slumping box office is likely to be a continuing shortage of major new films. The weekend’s highest new entry was the fourth-placed “Do You Love Me As I Love You?”. The film is a Taiwan-produced romance that released in other Chinese-speaking parts of Asia in the third quarter of 2020.

    Monday sees the release in China of “Uncharted,” timed to give it a shot at the one day Qingming festival. And, if COVID conditions do not cause widespread cinema closures, Friday will see the release of “The Batman.”

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