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Thread: The Wandering Earth

  1. #1
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    The Wandering Earth



    From Liu Cixin, who also wrote The Three Body Problem.

    STARRING WU JING!
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Opening tomorrow in PRC

    Next up for Spring Festival - The Wandering Earth - my money is on this one to win out this year, mostly because of the momentum of Wu Jing. My second pick is the New King of Comedy.

    The Wandering Earth could be the film to spark China’s science fiction moviemaking
    The film, starring Wolf Warrior’s Wu Jing, is a sci-fi movie of epic scale that rivals Hollywood blockbusters like Interstellar and Gravity
    Hopes are high that it will inspire more quality Chinese sci-fi blockbusters after a frankly embarrassing line of substandard productions
    PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2019, 7:02am
    UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2019, 7:01am
    Elaine Yau
    https://www.facebook.com/elaine.yau.3152
    https://www.weibo.com/u/6450432252



    Laden with an extravaganza of special effects, The Wandering Earth (out in China on February 5) is a Chinese science fiction movie of epic scale that rivals Hollywood space blockbusters like Interstellar and Gravity.

    Adapted from the novel of the same name by renowned science fiction author Liu Cixin – the first author from Asia to win best novel at the Hugo sci-fi and fantasy literary awards, for The Three-Body Problem in 2015 – the film has created a large buzz in China, with a series of screenings generating rave reviews.

    Movers and shakers in China’s scientific community are singing the film’s praises, saying it heralds a new dawn for Chinese sci-fi cinema.

    While China’s movie industry has enjoyed spectacular growth since the country’s opening up 40 years ago, science fiction is a genre that has been left mostly underdeveloped due to huge technical costs and the deep philosophical depth often involved in plots.



    Ji Shaoting, co-founder of the Future Affairs Administration, which promotes Chinese science fiction writers and is the film’s official promoter, told ifeng.com last year that many Chinese TV and movie companies eager to make science fiction productions lack basic understanding of the genre.

    “For example, Resident Evil and Interstellar are totally different works,” she said. “The stories by [science fiction authors] Han Song and Liu Cixin are also different.”

    The history of Chinese science fiction movies is an embarrassing mixture of substandard productions and lacklustre box office results.

    According to a 2018 report on China’s science fiction industry released by the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, the total China box office for science fiction movies in 2017 was 13 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion), but Chinese productions accounted for only 1.3 billion yuan, or 10 per cent. In the first half of 2018, the total China box office for science fiction movies was 9.5 billion yuan, of which only 890 million yuan, or 9 per cent, was chalked up by Chinese productions.

    Foreign science fiction productions like Interstellar, Gravity and Lucy were blockbusters in China and account for one-third of all foreign movie imports since 2012.

    In comparison, Chinese science fiction fare like Future X-Cops (2010) and Metallic Attraction::Kungfu Cyborg (2009) are embarrassing productions where science fiction elements do not even constitute the main plot.

    Meanwhile, a much-hyped movie adapted from Liu’s critically acclaimed The Three-Body Problem has been shelved, leading commentators to say that China’s movie-making standard does not measure up to the epic scale portrayed in the book.


    A still from The Wandering Earth. Photo: Future Affairs Administration

    Alex Li, co-founder of the Future Affairs Administration, told chinawriter.com in 2016 that it might take a decade for local science fiction productions to enjoy the same popularity at the China box office as Hollywood productions.

    “Science fiction accounts for a very high proportion of the box office,” he said “It’s impossible for local industry players and capital to just cede the profits generated from the sector to Hollywood. But the process might last up to a decade. We believe in local science fiction productions and we are willing to wait.”

    The long wait might be over prematurely with the release of The Wandering Earth.


    Wu Jing in a still from The Wandering Earth. Photo: Future Affairs Administration

    The film portrays how a group of intrepid Chinese astronauts save the world from the brink of annihilation due to the imminent destruction of the sun. Like Hollywood space movies where Americans are portrayed as the only ones capable of saving humanity, here Chinese astronauts are the sole adventurers among the global space community determined to complete the arduous task of fending off the apocalypse.

    In spite of such overt patriotism, the film is spectacular for its ceaseless stream of hair-raising close-shave encounters and apocalyptic landscapes oozing desolation and despair. There is also a touching subplot involving family bonds at the centre of the mission to save the earth.

    [IMG]data-original="https://cdn3.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/images/methode/2019/02/01/ef4e0a0e-25e4-11e9-9177-bd3ae24bba4f_1320x770_182426.jpg"[/IMG]
    Qu Chuxiao in a still from The Wandering Earth. Photo: Future Affairs Administration

    Wu Jing – who directed and starred in the hugely patriotic Wolf Warrior blockbuster series – plays the father in the family, a Chinese astronaut stationed in space who has been away from his family for years.

    The Chinese have landed on the dark side of the moon. No humans have done this before. Such scientific achievements and development have set up a solid foundation WU JING
    Wu told huanqiu.com recently that 2019 is the “inaugural” year of Chinese science fiction movies due to the release of The Wandering Earth.

    “When director Frant Gwo first came to me to explain all the physics data, I didn’t understand it at all,” he said. “However, in him, I saw traces of me when I made the first Wolf Warrior, when I went everywhere telling people how the helicopter, tanks and explosions worked. Like him, I was close to breaking down then.

    “I told him, I can help you as long as you will help young people involved in new film genres after you become successful. Later, capital for making the movie became tight, so I told him I didn’t need to get paid. I shot the movie for 31 days. Later, money ran out. I told Gwo that we are in the same boat and I don’t want to regret putting effort into the movie, so I became an investor as well.”


    A still from The Wandering Earth. Photo: Future Affairs Administration

    Although Wu is not a big fan of science fiction movies, he said the making of The Wandering Earth helped him understand the genre.

    “Chinese science fiction fans have seen all the world-class science fiction movies and they have waited for a long time with patience [for good] Chinese science fiction movies,” he said.

    “The Chinese have landed on the dark side of the moon. No humans have done this before. Such scientific achievements and development have set up a solid foundation. No Chinese filmmakers have made anything like The Wandering Earth. Seven thousand people worked on the movie. It has at least nurtured 7,000 people’s basic knowledge in science fiction movies.”


    Frant Gwo, director of The Wandering Earth. Photo: Xun

    In a discussion session after a recent screening held at the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, Gwo said he has been a fan of science fiction since childhood and has now realised his dream of making a science fiction movie.

    “When making the movie, we learned from Hollywood production flow and methods. We have overcome many unimaginable difficulties to make it. I hope this movie will prompt more directors to try the genre and boost investors’ confidence in it.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  3. #3
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    $200m

    Bummer. I wasn't even close with my Wandering Earth for the Spring Festival winner. It's all about Crazy Alien. I haven't seen any of the Crazy trilogy yet.

    FEBRUARY 5, 2019 4:21AM PT
    Ning Hao’s ‘Crazy Alien’ Leads $200 Million Day at Chinese Box Office

    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF DIRTY MONKEY FILMS

    “Crazy Alien,” a comedy caper by hit-making director Ning Hao, led the box office in China on the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday period. By 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the film had earned $55 million in mainland Chinese cinemas.

    The top eight movies earned a combined $200 million (RMB1.35 billion) by 7:30 p.m., according to data from China Box Office.

    “Crazy Alien,” in which two brothers hope to make a fortune from an alien who lands in their lap, is the third film in Ning’s “Crazy” franchise. It follows 2009 black comedy “Crazy Stone” and 2006 title “Crazy Racer.” Once again it stars Xu Zheng and Huang Bo.

    The early score, and a 28% market share, is a solid start for the film, which is backed by Huanxi Media, the stock market listed vehicle in which Ning and Xu are major owners. The company announced last year that distributors had provided a minimum guarantee that “Alien” would achieve $415 million (RMB2.8 billion) in China.

    “Pegasus,” by celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han, was in second place with $42 million (RMB282 million) at 7 p.m., for a 21% market share. “New King of Comedy,” a remake of Stephen Chow’s 1999 title, was third. It had earned $36 million (RMB243 million) for a 19% share of the early evening pie.

    “Wandering Earth,” heralded as China’s first genuine sci-fi movie, earned $24.8 million (RMB167 million) in fourth place and a 13% market share. “Boonie Bears: Blast Into the Past,” the sixth film in a Chinese animation franchise, earned $10.9 million on its first official day of release. But with previews, it has already amassed $16.8 million. Its producer, Fantawild has gone on record to forecast a result of more than $100 million.

    Jackie Chan-starring family friendly historical adventure, “Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang” was in sixth place on Tuesday with $9.3 million by 7 p.m. It was narrowly ahead of Chinese-British animation “Peppa Pig,” which had raked in $9 million. In eighth place was “Integrity,” stuffed with a cast of Hong Kong veterans, which had earned $7.9 million (RMB53 million).

    Cinema attendance could increase on subsequent days, following family get-togethers on the first day of celebrations. The Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival) holidays run through the whole of the week in mainland China.
    Gene Ching
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    $27.5 m

    I'm still pulling Year of the Pig



    Chinese Sci-Fi Blockbuster Draws Crowds on Opening Day
    ‘The Wandering Earth’ — a big-budget adaptation of a Liu Cixin novel — is expected to spark deeper interest in homegrown science fiction.
    Yin Yijun
    Feb 06, 2019 3-min read

    JIANGSU, East China — Chinese film fans ushered in the Year of the Pig with a new single-day box-office record on Tuesday, with the country’s first big-budget sci-fi blockbuster, “The Wandering Earth,” contributing a significant share.

    In all, eight movies were released yesterday, garnering total box-office takings of 1.46 billion yuan ($207 million), breaking the previous record of 1.28 billion yuan set on the first day of Lunar New Year 2018. The much-anticipated “The Wandering Earth” took an estimated 186 million yuan ($27.5 million), according to ticketing site Maoyan.

    Based on a short novel of the same name by Liu Cixin — China’s first science-fiction author to win the prestigious Hugo Award — “The Wandering Earth” has been four years in the making and cost around $50 million to make. The story takes place in an apocalyptic future where, as the sun dies, the world government decides to physically move Earth away from destruction and embark on a centuries-long voyage to a new solar system. But humanity is threatened with annihilation almost immediately, when scientists discover that Earth is on an apparent collision course with Jupiter. In the end, it is left to a rebellious young man named Liu Qi — played by up-and-coming actor Qu Chuxiao — and his father, a Chinese astronaut, to come to the rescue.

    “The Wandering Earth” has attracted attention both at home and abroad for being China’s first big-budget sci-fi blockbuster. Science fiction as a whole is becoming increasingly popular in China, partly thanks to the success of Liu Cixin’s award-winning trilogy “The Three-Body Problem.” But although the country’s domestic movie industry is growing rapidly — churning out around 1,000 titles per year, according to consulting firm Askci — Hollywood films still constitute the bulk of the country’s sci-fi releases.

    The early signs indicate that “The Wandering Earth” is a hit. At a series of promotional screenings before its official release, critics praised its visual effects and gripping storyline. And on Douban, the movie currently has a score of 8.3 out of 10 points, higher than most other movies in the same genre.

    On Tuesday afternoon at a movie theater in Lianyungang, a coastal city in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, a near-full house flocked to see the first screening of “The Wandering Earth.” Thirty-seven-year-old Qiao, a self-professed fan of science fiction and Liu Cixin’s works in particular, took his wife and 10-year-old daughter to see the movie. He, too, lauded the plot and eye-catching special effects.

    Qiao is familiar with smaller-budget Chinese attempts at sci-fi, such as 1980’s “Death-Ray on the Coral Island,” but claims that “The Wandering Earth” is “the first true Chinese sci-fi movie.” He added that “The Wandering Earth” held its own against movies like “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012” — two of the best-known examples of overseas sci-fi in China. “But we shouldn’t compare ourselves with movies from previous years, now that filmmaking technology is developing so fast,” he said, adding that he was cautiously optimistic about the future of homegrown sci-fi.

    Not all reviews of “The Wandering Earth” have been positive, however. On Douban, certain netizens complained about what they perceived as the film’s overly patriotic tone, and about their dislike of Wu Jing, the actor who plays Liu Qi’s father and also stars in the bombastic “Wolf Warrior” action movies.

    With a host of other homegrown sci-fi movies set for release this year, some Chinese film critics and media outlets have dubbed 2019 “year one” for the genre’s development in the country. Another Liu Cixin adaptation, the sci-fi comedy “Crazy Alien,” was also released yesterday, taking 404 million yuan on its opening day. And further examples of the genre are scheduled for screening later this year, including “Shanghai Fortress,” which sees the eastern megacity defend itself against invading aliens, and “Pathfinder,” about an interstellar adventure on a desert-like planet.

    Contributions: Wang Yiwei; editor: Matthew Walsh.

    (Header image: A promotional poster for the film “The Wandering Earth.” From Weibo user @电影流浪地球)
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    Ftw

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Next up for Spring Festival - The Wandering Earth - my money is on this one to win out this year, mostly because of the momentum of Wu Jing.
    I love to say 'I told ya so'

    FEBRUARY 10, 2019 11:48AM PT
    ‘Wandering Earth’ Sci-Fi Film Earns $300 Million Chinese New Year Victory
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF JINGXI CULTURE AND MEDIA

    China’s first large-scale sci-fi film, “Wandering Earth” came to dominate the box office over the Chinese New Year holidays – though it started from behind.

    Over the full six days of the holiday, the picture earned $304 million. Some $187 million of that came over the Friday-Sunday period, making “Wandering Earth” far and away the top scoring film worldwide over the weekend.

    In comparison, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” earned $38.2 million in six international territories. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” topped the North American charts with $34.4 million.

    Eight locally-made films opened in Middle Kingdom cinemas on Tuesday (Feb. 5), the first day of Chinese New Year. The initial leader was Ning Hao-directed comedy “Crazy Alien” with $60 million (RMB405 million,) according to data from tracking service, China Box Office. “Wandering Earth” placed only fourth with $27.8 million (RMB188,) behind “Pegasus” and “New King of Comedy.”

    The following day, “Crazy Alien” kept the lead, but with a score diminished to $42.3 million (RMB284 million). “Wandering Earth” increased its score, to $38.2 million (RMB257 million).

    On Thursday, “Wandering Earth” snatched first place and did not relinquish it. Its daily scores improved in each session until Saturday, when it took $61.6 million.

    Giant screen operator, Imax played three Chinese films on its 604 commercial screens in the Middle Kingdom, and adjusted its schedules over the period as audience preferences became easier to read.

    “Imax’s record performance during this year’s Chinese New Year is proof that demand for Imax’s premium entertainment experience is alive and well in China,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO, Imax, in an emailed statement. “’Wandering Earth’ is the first blockbuster sci-fi film to be made in China. As China makes more high quality, blockbuster content, we believe audiences will continue to seek out the Imax experience.”

    Over the full six-day period, “Crazy Alien” scored $215 million for second place. “Pegasus,” directed by celebrity blogger and race driver Han Han, earned $156 million.

    “New King of Comedy,” a remake of Stephen Chow 1989 title, fell well short of the RMB1 billion ($148 million) milestone that these days marks a blockbuster in China. It earned only $78.6 million (RMB531 million) for fourth place, ahead of animation franchise title “Boonie Bears: Blast Into the Past” which earned $69 million (RMB466 million).

    Jackie Chan-starring “Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang” faded quickly, as “Wandering Earth” prevailed. “Knight” earned only $19.1 million ($129 million) over six days. Still, that was marginally better than much hyped animation “Peppa Pig,” which despite being timed for the new Chinese Year of the Pig, earned only $16.6 million (RMB112 million).

    “Integrity” brought up the rear, earning $14.1 million (RMB95 million) over six days. No Hollywood titles received new releases during the period and none broke through to figure in the chart.
    Gene Ching
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    $420m

    The year's biggest-grossing global grosser, but it's early in the year.

    Feb 13, 2019, 12:10pm
    Box Office: Can 'The Wandering Earth' Earn $1 Billion In China Alone?
    Scott Mendelson
    Senior Contributor
    Hollywood & Entertainment
    I cover the film industry.


    Jing Wu in 'The Wandering Earth' BEIJING CULTURE

    The Wandering Earth earned another $32 million on Wednesday (-16% from its $38m Tuesday) to bring its nine-day total to an absurd . With ¥2829.07m in local currency, it should soar past ¥3000m on day ten, becoming just the second movie (after Wolf Warrior 2) to snag $3 billion in local Chinese currency in just ten days in theaters. It is already the year's biggest-grossing global grosser, a title that it will likely keep for awhile unless Captain Marvel really does soar past the $1b worldwide mark. By the end of May, we will probably have Avengers: Endgame, The Wandering Earth and Captain Marvel sitting at the top of the 2019 charts, give or take Detective Pikachu going bonkers here or abroad when it opens on May 10.

    This weekend will give us a look as to how long it can continue to play like Wolf Warrior 2. That Ju Wing-led action spectacular earned $131 million in its initial Fri-Sun debut ($146m Thurs-Sun) only to rise up 23% to $162m in its second weekend for a $469m 11-day total. Considering Wandering Earth already has $420m and should be over/under $450m by the end of today, it is entirely possible that the $50m-budgeted sci-fi flick will be over $600m in China alone by Sunday. Even if, and this is obviously a big "if," it drops by 50% over the Fri-Sun frame, half of $179m (the movie opened on a Tuesday and earned $299m in its first six days) is around $89.5m, which would push the film over $540m in just under two weeks. A 30% drop puts the movie over $575m (Operation Red Sea's total gross) by Sunday.

    That's all somewhat speculative, but if it holds up in its second weekend, the question will no longer be "Will The Wandering Earth top Wolf Warrior 2's $854 million Chinese total?" but rather "Will The Wandering Earth make more in China than Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned ($937m) in North America?" To be fair, Wolf Warrior 2 started playing like a "normal" movie after its second weekend, dropping between 46% and 57% in its next five weekends before dropping 69% in weekend eight. Wolf Warrior 2 earned around 1.82x its end-of-weekend-two total while Detective Chinatown 2 earned 1.29x its $419m end-of-second-weekend total. That one, which opened like gangbusters alongside Monster Hunt 2 and Operation Red Sea last New Years, fell 48% in weekend two and essentially played like a "normal" leggy blockbuster. A similar run for Wandering Earth would give it "only" $702m in China.

    Legs like Operation Red Sea ($575 million total after an end-of-second-weekend-gross of $334m) would give The Wandering Earth 1.72x wherever it ends up on Sunday. Of note, Wolf Warrior 2 jumped 31% in its second weekend while Operation Red Sea jumped 46% in weekend two. If we see anything resembling that kind of hold this weekend then, to paraphrase another popular interstellar sci-fi fantasy, we must confront the possibility that The Wandering Earth may earn $1 billion in China alone. Conversely, The Mermaid earned $120m on its opening weekend (as part of a $274m opening frame) and still fell 53% on weekend two for an eventual $526m total, or 1.25x its end-of-second-weekend total. Such a figure would leave The Wandering Earth (presuming an over/under 50% drop in weekend two) with a mere $679m total. Can I get a #CanThisFranchiseBeSaved? over here?

    So, going forward, the question is whether The Wandering Earth plays like the last two big war-time actioners (one of which opened in the summer) or if it plays like the less leggy New Years crowd-pleasers. Of note, The Wandering Earth is a heck of a lot more family-friendly than Operation Red Sea or even the R-rated comedies (The Mermaid and Detective Chinatown), so that may help a bit. It's also a lot better than Monster Hunt 2 (which wasn't as good as Monster Hunt), so I'm guessing it's not going to drop by 82% this weekend. Hell, even if it did, this flick would still end its run with around $570m. But, again, it's looking like "does it play like The Mermaid or Operation Red Sea?" over the next month.

    Of course, there's also the other seven movies that opened over the New Years frame, but they've been totally eclipsed by the sci-fi spectacle. Considering those films include a Jackie Chan flick and a Stephen Chow picture, perhaps China is entering an era where concepts (and eventually brands) trumps movie stars. That would explain why Chow is apparently making Kung Fu Hustle 2. Either way, not only might The Wandering Earth earn more in China than any Hollywood release earns in North America in 2019 (or ever), it might make more in China than all but a few very big releases (Avengers 4, Star Wars 9, Frozen 2, etc.) earn worldwide over the next 12 months.

    If you like what you're reading, follow @ScottMendelson on Twitter, and "like" The Ticket Booth on Facebook. Also, check out my archives for older work HERE.
    Scott Mendelson
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  7. #7
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    The Wandering Earth for the global win

    It's more like Presidents Day is no match for the Lunar New Year.

    FEBRUARY 17, 2019 11:58AM PT
    Box Office: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ No Match for China’s ‘Wandering Earth’ Overseas
    By REBECCA RUBIN
    News Editor, Online
    @rebeccaarubin


    CREDIT: COURTESY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

    Hollywood movies like “Alita: Battle Angel” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” are doing respectable business overseas, but they’re proving no match for foreign titles at the international box office.

    The Chinese New Year is bringing in huge business in the Middle Kingdom. China’s sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth” pulled in a massive $96.6 million from three territories, bringing its international tally to $606.8 million. Another movie from the Mainland, “Crazy Alien,” earned $28 million for an overseas total of $318 million, while fellow local title “Pegasus” brought in $25.7 million, taking its bounty to $238 million.

    Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel” led films on the Hollywood front, generated $56 million when it launched in 86 overseas markets this weekend. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, the sci-fi adventure has now grossed $94 million internationally. The movie saw the best opening in Russia, where it earned $6.5 million. “Alita” also had sizable debuts in Mexico ($4.2 million), Australia ($2.9 million), and Thailand ($2.5 million).

    “Alita: Battle Angel” dominated the domestic box office with its $33 million debut over the long President’s Day weekend, but it will be an uphill battle for the $170 million movie to reach profitability. Since the movie is based on a popular Japanese manga title, the studio anticipates Asian markets to overperform. It launches in China and Japan next weekend.

    Among holdovers, the third installment in Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon” series made $21 million this weekend in 49 foreign territories. That brings its foreign bounty to $172 million. It releases in North America next weekend. “How to Train Your Dragon 3” debuted this weekend in Poland with $1.9 million and Ecuador with $600,000.

    Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” added another $12.1 million from 69 international markets for an overseas haul of $34.7 million. The animated sequel is just shy of the $100 million mark worldwide, with ticket sales currently standing at $97.7 million. Its top markets include the United Kingdom ($3.1 million), Mexico ($1.5 million), and Russia ($792,000).
    THREADS
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    The Wandering Earth
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  8. #8
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    $557 m

    ASIA FEBRUARY 18, 2019 2:43AM PT
    China Box Office: ‘Wandering Earth’ Reaches $557 Million in Second Week
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: THE WANDERING EARTH

    The winning films during China’s Lunar New Year holiday period remained on top of the local box office in their second normal weekend of release. Locally made sci-fi film “The Wandering Earth” pushed its total to $557 million.

    “Wandering Earth” earned $88.8 million between Friday and Monday, according to data from Asian film industry consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was more than half of the $160 million of the entire market.

    “Wandering Earth” surpassed “Avengers: Infinity War” on Saturday to become the highest-grossing Imax release ever in China. After adding $7.2 million from 603 Imax screens over the four-day weekend, the Imax cumulative for the film now stands at $43.7 million in China, and $44.7 million globally.

    “Crazy Alien” was unchanged in second place. It earned $25.8 million over the weekend, and advanced its 13-day cumulative to $292 million.

    Han Han’s “Pegasus” was similarly unchanged in third place. It earned $23.6 million, for a cumulative of $219 million.

    “Boonie Bears: Blast Into the Past” held on to fourth place, earning $9.5 million. That takes it to $94.7 million, and puts its $100 million reported target in reach.

    The week’s only significant new release, New Classics Media’s “Fall in Love at First Kiss,” opened in fifth position. Including its earnings from Thursday – Valentine’s Day – the film earned $19.2 million in four days.
    This is playing in the U.S. via AMC
    Wandering Earth
    Wandering Earth
    2 HR 5 MIN NR
    Based on a short story by Liu Cixin. In the future, Earth's survival is threatened, so large thruster engines are built to propel the planet through the solar system toward another sun-like star.



    THREADS
    The Wandering Earth
    Year of the Pig
    Gene Ching
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  9. #9
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    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssss!

    ...although this might well be something to see on the big screen. It is playing locally, but I doubt I'll get the chance to catch it with my schedule as it is right now.

    FEBRUARY 20, 2019 8:14PM PT
    Netflix Buys Chinese Sci-Fi Hit ‘The Wandering Earth’
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: THE WANDERING EARTH

    Netflix has bought rights to “The Wandering Earth,“ the smash hit film pitched as China’s first mainstream sci-fi movie.

    The movie was the sleeper hit of Chinese New Year. It opened in fourth position on Feb. 5 but climbed to the top spot and has not yet relinquished it. After 14 days in theaters, the epic has raked in about RMB4.07 billion ($603 million) and likely has weeks of its theatrical run left to go.

    Adapted from a 2000 novella of the same name by the godfather of Chinese sci-fi, Liu Cixin, the film tells the story of people working together to save the planet from our aged, imploding sun by moving it with giant thrusters to another solar system.

    Netflix operates globally, but not in China, where local regulations have barred its entry. It was able to license some of its content in the Middle Kingdom through an arrangement with local streaming service iQIYI, but that deal has expired. Netflix is also slowly ramping up its roster of Mandarin-language content through production of original series and through acquisitions.

    Netflix gave no date for releasing “The Wandering Earth” on its platform.

    “Netflix is committed to providing entertainment lovers with access to a wide variety of global content,” said Jerry Zhang, manager of content acquisition at Netflix. “With its high-quality production and story-telling, we believe that ‘The Wandering Earth’ will be loved by sci-fi fans around the world.”

    The film is directed and written by Frant Gwo. It features a cast including Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat and Zhao Jinmai, with a special appearance by Wu Jing.

    “The movie is a majestic feast for the eyes with massive production scale rarely seen in Mandarin films,” Netflix said. “Its post-production and special effects work spanned two years, undergoing more than 3,000 conceptual designs, and featuring over 10,000 specifically built props, while employing an impressive 2,000 special effects shots and a substantial amount of computer graphics shots.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  10. #10
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    There is is again...

    ...the Warcraft Redemption for Alita. I was thinking this would happen but didn't make my prediction public. My bad. Doesn't count then.

    Wandering Earth still going strong too. That prediction I did make publicly here.

    ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Flies To $65M China Debut, Sets Fox & Imax Records – International Box Office
    by Nancy Tartaglione
    February 24, 2019 1:30pm


    20th Century Fox

    UPDATED, writethru: Fox/Lightstorm’s Alita: Battle Angel came out fighting in China this weekend, touching down with a $62.3 million debut, per Fox’s estimates. The figure is even higher — at $64.8M — according to local reporting. Whichever way the dust settles, this is Fox’s biggest opening of all time in the Middle Kingdom as well as a new February Imax record.

    In total this session, Alita winged to another estimated $92.4M across 82 markets to lift the international box office cume to $202.7M. She is currently pacing 3% above Ready Player One and 64% over The Maze Runner in like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates. After a 58% drop domestically this weekend, the Robert Rodriguez-helmed sci-fi fantasy has grossed $263.3M globally (using the Fox estimates; actuals will be updated early in the week). A worldwide finish above $400M is expected, though Alita remains a pricey break-even proposition and only recoups 25% of Chinese turnstiles — finance sources still believe that Alita will have a hard time seeing profit.


    Tule/ZCOOL HelloRF/REX/Shutterstock

    While the Middle Kingdom has been feasting on its own homegrown sci-fi epic, The Wandering Earth ($647M in China through Sunday and counting), it had plenty of appetite left for Alita which this weekend became the first Hollywood title in the market following the Lunar New Year holiday rush. Having revered figure James Cameron on hand didn’t hurt. He, along with Rodriguez, producer Jon Landau, stars Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz, and the source material’s author Yukito Kishiro, visited Beijing on Monday for a well-attended press conference. In a savvy stroke of synergy, Cameron also delighted fans by sitting down with the author of The Wandering Earth’s source material and for an interview by that film’s director.

    From there, a lot went right with Alita in China. It made $9M from 603 Imax screens to log the top Fox opening in the format and the best China Imax start for February ever. The Maoyan score is a terrific 8.9 while Douban is 7.6 and even the Chinese poster has generated strong social sentiment. Depending on the holds this week and next weekend, Alita has a shot at $150M in China, but will significantly lose screens when Captain Marvel opens on March 8.


    Fox
    The manga adaptation is in its third weekend of offshore release after Fox went out early in many South East Asia markets to tap into the Chinese New Year holiday. Driven by Asia, overseas is the play on Alita which will rely on international to carry the bulk of the box office. The drop in holdovers this session was 45% with some tight grips in France, Germany and more.

    Down the line, if Cameron — who is delivering Avatar 2 for Christmas 2020 — has his druthers, sequels could certainly be in the offing. He recently told Reuters, “If people show up, we’re definitely going to do at least one more if not two. It’s mapped out for three in total.”


    DreamWorks Animation
    In other international play, there were no new wide Hollywood releases this weekend. Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s domestic opener, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, has already been zooming around the globe for weeks, and continued its charmed ride with a $34.7M session in 53 markets this frame. The offshore cume on Hiccup and Toothless’ threequel is now $216.9M. Combined with the domestic debut, the worldwide total is $275M. China opens next weekend.


    Meanwhile, as noted above, The Wandering Earth continued its stellar trajectory. The Chinese New Year title has grossed $679.3M in three markets, including $647M in the Middle Kingdom where it became the No. 2 movie ever last week (Netflix this week acquired SVOD rights outside China). The Imax total is $45M in China. Combined with Alita, IMAX has had a record February at the Chinese box office, reaching RMB 418M/$61.7M.


    Yorgos Lanthimos
    And, as we head into the Oscars tonight, co-leading nominee The Favourite has crossed $50M internationally while Green Book is closing in on $75M and Bohemian Rhapsody has risen to $648M.

    Next weekend will be more of the same with no major new wide release until Captain Marvel starts offshore rollout on March 6. As with the past several frames, China will be the one to watch as Alita continues, HTTYD3 bows, and Green Book could see an Oscar halo there.

    In the meantime, breakdowns on the films above and more have been updated below.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  11. #11
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    Continued from previous post

    HOLDOVERS/EXPANSIONS
    ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL


    20th Century Fox
    Fox/Lightstorm’s sci-fi fantasy was No. 1 in 18 markets this session, with a 45% drop in holdovers. The frame was led, predictably, by China where the start is $62.3M according to Fox but higher per local box office reporting at $64.8M. Sunday is coming in at $20.3M, an 18% Saturday to Sunday drop (better than predicted) in the Middle Kingdom where word of mouth has been solid with a strong 8.9 score on ticketing platform Maoyan. Midweeks will help ascertain how front-loaded the film is. The opening set a new record for Fox and an IMAX February record at $9M or 14% of the local take. Alita will lose some of those screens to How To Train Your Dragon 3 next weekend, and then be pushed out entirely by Captain Marvel the following session. The question now becomes how high it can fly across the $100M Middle Kingdom mark.

    The film has a similar underdog vs The Man theme to Ready Player One, and a hope has been to see Alita emulate the China success that RP1 enjoyed in 2018 when it bowed to $61.7M and cumed over $218M there. That included an extended run with the film also tapping into video game culture. Alita has James Cameron — revered in China — in its favor, but it is also facing competition ahead.

    With a global total of $263.3M through Sunday, the expensive movie is looking to final at a worldwide cume above $400M, though getting to profit is still a tricky proposition. The current weekend grossed $92.4M in 82 markets and saw some good holds. France was off 29% for an $11.14M cume; Germany dipped 32% for $5.3M to date; and Australia held No. 1 to cume $5.3M so far.

    Asia is the driver with a debut of $3.2M in Japan for the No. 1 spot. Korea is the lead market behind China at $16M and Taiwan has cumed $8M in first place for the third weekend in a row.

    The international total is now $202.7M, which is bigger than Ready Player One (+3%) and The Maze Runner (+64%) at current exchange rates.

    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD


    DreamWorks Animation
    Hiccup and Toothless had a franchise-high domestic debut this weekend, several frames after their threequel began offshore rollout in early January. The current weekend overseas on the Universal/DreamWorks Animation title was $34.7M with strong play through European school vacations. Internationally, the total is now $216.9M for $275M worldwide.

    HTTYD3 is playing in 53 offshore markets including nine new homes this session. They’re led by Russia’s $11.2M from 1,810 locations at No. 1. That’s followed by Spain at No. 1 with $2.8M from 352 sites, and the Philippines with $1.7M at 212 locations and No. 1. In holds, the UK was up 5% for a $20.3M cume, France dipped just 27% for $16.7M to date and Germany was down 39% for $13.9M. Mexico likewise fell 39% for an $18.7M total after four frames. Still to come are China and Japan with the former opening on Friday.

    THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

    Lego Movie 2
    Warner Bros
    Warner Bros’ sequel, the fourth movie in the franchise to be released in just the past few years, added $10.3M from 8,572 screens in 73 overseas markets. An underwhelming performance thus far, the film has now cumed $53M internationally and $136.6M worldwide.

    School holidays in Europe helped propel some better business this weekend with the UK up 3% for a running cume of $18.3M at No. 1. France and Italy both opened this frame with $1.2M from 452 screens and $963K from 500, respectively.

    The UK leads all play, followed by Russia ($3.2M), Poland ($3M), Germany ($2.7M) and Mexico ($2.5M). The final key market release is Australia on March 21.

    GREEN BOOK

    Green Book
    Universal Pictures
    As it heads into Oscar night, Best Picture nominee Green Book added $8.6M at the international box office this weekend. That’s across 59 combined Lionsgate and Amblin markets and brings the running cume to $74.4M ahead of the China opening (off a flat sale) next session. Lionsgate’s markets have amassed $41.2M so far; Denmark was a No. 1 opener this weekend at $709K while France topped the 1M admissions milestone for $8.2M to date (France’s national news radio today was predicting Green Book as the Oscar winner). For Amblin, the drop this weekend was 14% across 11 markets for a $33.17M cume to date and strong holds. Behind France, the UK ($8.1M), Italy ($6.7M), Australia ($6.4M) and Russia ($6M) round out the Top 5. China and Japan open Friday.

    HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U


    Universal
    Universal/Blumhouse’s sequel unwrapped $6.1M in the second offshore session, cuming $20.9M internationally and $42.5M worldwide. Strong horror market Brazil was the top opening in the frame at $844K from 494 locations and 13% ahead of Truth Or Dare. Malaysia had a good start at No. 2 with $411K from 139 locations and 58% above the previous microbudget installment. Germany led the way for holdovers, dipping 28% to cume $1.8M so far. The lead market overall is Korea at $2.9M, followed by Germany, the UK and France ($1.7M) and Indonesia ($1.34M). Still on deck are Italy, Russia and Japan among others.

    MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE


    Disney
    Ralph Breaks The Internet (DIS): $5.1M intl weekend (26 markets); $314.6M intl cume
    The Favourite (FOX): $3.7M intl weekend (49 markets); $51.1M intl cume
    Bohemian Rhapsody (FOX): $3.2M intl weekend (33 markets); $647.7M intl cume
    Instant Family (PAR): $3M intl weekend (22 markets); $43.5M intl cume
    The Mule (WB): $3M intl weekend (35 markets); $44.7M intl cume
    Nicky Larson And Cupid’s Perfume (SNY): $2M intl weekend (France only); $10.2M France cume
    Aquaman (WB): $1.9M intl weekend (58 markets); $805.9M intl cume ($1.13B WW)
    Escape Room (SNY): $1.8M intl weekend (41 markets); $62.5M intl cume
    Loudspeaker (SNY): $1.8M intl weekend (Russia only); $6M Russia cume
    Glass (DIS): $1.6M intl weekend (35 markets); $133M intl cume
    What Men Want (PAR): $1.6M intl weekend (10 markets); $4.6M intl cume
    A Dog’s Way Home (SNY): $1.4M intl weekend (32 markets); $21.9M intl cume
    Mary Poppins Returns (DIS): $1.2M intl weekend (16 markets); $174.1M intl cume
    The Kid Who Would Be King (FOX): $913K intl weekend (14 markets); $9.4M intl cume
    My Best Friend’s Wedding (SNY): $810K intl weekend (Mexico only); $4.1M Mexico cume

    NEW LOCAL-LANGUAGE

    Fox Star
    Fox Star’s Bollywood comedy Total Dhamaal grossed $9.6M at No. 1 in India this weekend, seeing increases throughout the frame. In total in two Fox Star markets, the Indra Kumar-directed entry into the franchise made $9.9M. An adventure comedy, it stars Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor. In Korea, Svaha: The Sixth Finger grossed $8.9M at No. 1 per local reporting. The thriller from director Jang Jae-hyn connects a cult to a series of mysterious cases of missing teenage girls.
    didn't bother to migrate all the pix.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  12. #12
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    $1.66 b


    China’s box office takes world-record US$1.66 billion in February as Lunar New Year hits like The Wandering Earth pack cinemas

    Chinese theatres generated 11.1 billion yuan in ticket sales, with space-exploration film The Wandering Earth proving the biggest draw
    Pearl Liu
    Updated: Tuesday, 5 Mar, 2019 6:03am


    A scene from Chinese sci-fi movie The Wandering Earth. Photo: China Film Group Corporation

    China’s box office receipts soared to a world-record 11.1 billion yuan (US$1.66 billion) in February as film fans flocked to cinemas to catch The Wandering Earth and other blockbusters during the Lunar New Year holiday.
    The sales figure, provided by Maoyan Entertainment, China’s biggest movie ticketing app, is the highest ever recorded in a single month anywhere, and beats the previous record of 10.1 billion yuan set by China in the same month a year earlier.
    It was well over three times the total revenue of North American theatres in February, which was US$478.5 million (3.2 billion yuan) according to Box Office Mojo.
    The ticket revenue was generated by 12 films during the month, with by far the biggest boost coming from the holiday period from February 4 to 10. Traditionally a time for friends and family to come together, the Lunar New Year has become something of a golden period for film releases in China.
    The total box office during the festivities, contributed by eight movies, reached 5.8 billion yuan, inching up slightly from 5.74 billion yuan in 2018, according to data from Maoyan.
    By far the biggest draw was the Chinese space-exploration film, The Wandering Earth, a surprise box-office hit, which has raked in 4.45 billion yuan since its Lunar New Year debut.
    “The success of the film signals that Chinese audiences have become more discerning, which has elevated the Chinese movie market to a more diversified and mature stage,” said Wu Chaoze, an analyst with China Securities who expects to see healthy growth of the market.
    The movie, adapted from a novella by Hugo award-winning sci-fi author Liu Cixin and produced by China Film Group Corporation, became China’s second highest-grossing film after the 2017 action movie Wolf Warrior 2, which earned 5.68 billion yuan.
    IMAX to show more Chinese-language films after sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth sets box office record
    Starring popular comedian Huang Bo and Glee actor Matthew Morrison, Crazy Alien ranked the second most popular film in February, taking 2.18 billion yuan. That was followed by Pegasus, directed and written by the famous
    China is already the second largest movie market in the world after the US, with box office proceeds reaching 60.98 billion yuan in 2018, up 9 per cent from the previous year.
    China’s box office takings in January came to 3.37 billion yuan. By comparison, North American cinemas took US$385.6 million in January (2.6 billion yuan), according to Box Office Mojo.
    THREADS
    Wandering Earth
    Spring Festival
    Chollywood rising
    Gene Ching
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    #2

    MARCH 14, 2019 1:00AM PT
    ‘The Wandering Earth’ Is Leading the Sci-Fi Charge at China’s Box Office

    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF CHINA FILM GROUP

    China’s first mainstream science-fiction film, “The Wandering Earth,” has surpassed “Operation Red Sea” to become the country’s second-highest-grossing movie of all time, with $679 million at the local box office and counting. “Crazy Alien,” another title released during last month’s competitive Chinese New Year period, has raked in $327 million domestically. Two more sci-fi movies are in the pipeline for release later this year.

    Together, the films are charting a course for a previously nonexistent genre in the Middle Kingdom and are inspiring immense pride in rapt Chinese viewers. Although the country is home to a world-renowned sci-fi writer (Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin) and a burgeoning fan base, such domestically made sci-fi movies have exploded onto the scene only now that local production budgets and technical know-how can realize them.

    Whether these blockbusters can blast off beyond China remains in doubt, however. Insiders say their popularity is more a sign of China’s growing cultural confidence than proof of a work of international quality and potential. But the Chinese market is so vast that the films can achieve huge financial success solely at home.

    “The Wandering Earth” now ranks behind only “Wolf Warrior 2” as China’s all-time box office champ. Adapted from a novella by Liu, the godfather of Chinese sci-fi, the futuristic epic tells the story of people working to save the world from the imploding sun by propelling Earth into another solar system.

    Another of Liu’s works provided the basis for “Crazy Alien,” a comedy about a zookeeper who discovers an extraterrestrial. “Shanghai Fortress,” which sees the city holding out against an alien attack, and “Pathfinder,” about a crew of space pioneers who crash-land on another planet, are expected later this year.

    “The Wandering Earth” has struck a special chord, garnering near-perfect ratings on key user-review platforms. Proud that their still-maturing industry could produce such an ambitious film, reviewers were eager to forgive its flaws and thrilled to see familiar details like Chinese school uniforms and iconic buildings that place the story squarely in the Middle Kingdom.

    “For Chinese audiences, watching ‘The Wandering Earth’ is far and away more meaningful than watching a flawless foreign blockbuster,” declared the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.

    Such warm feelings of identification and patriotism can translate into cold, hard numbers. Fox’s sci-fi offering “Alita: Battle Angel” is projected to take in a mere 20% of the expected gross of “The Wandering Earth,” despite being technologically slicker. China’s two other top-grossing films of all time, action films “Wolf Warrior 2” ($854 million) and “Operation Red Sea” ($576 million), are both extremely nationalistic in tone.

    “For a film to surpass the first one or two billion RMB [$150 million to $300 million] in ticket sales in China, there’s got to be some sort of other emotional hook besides just the subject matter itself that can reel in people,” says independent critic Yu Yaqin. “It comes down to pride in one’s country.”

    Richer than ever and more prominent on the world stage, China now has the confidence to envision itself going toe to toe with the U.S. “There’s very little that’s particularly unique about ‘The Wandering Earth,’ but for many Chinese people, it’s quite important that we made a film in a genre that typically only Americans have been really good at,” Yu says.

    No American characters are featured in the movie, and the language of world government is French. The film has nevertheless been praised for being less heavy-handedly political than other Chinese blockbusters. It was recently acquired by Netflix and is playing in select cities in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where it has collectively grossed about $6 million.

    Nathan Hao, CEO of distributor Times Vision, says Chinese sci-fi films might have a better shot overseas than other types of movies, thanks to the common language of a genre that’s recognizable the world over. But he passed on the chance to take “The Wandering Earth” on the road.

    “Chinese sci-fi is capable of attracting audiences abroad,” he adds, “but I don’t think it’ll happen in the short term.”

    It remains difficult for a non-English-language film of any caliber to break into the global mainstream. While Chinese art-house movies have earned international recognition, winning awards at top festivals, critics feel it may be a long time before a big-budget foreign blockbuster can match its U.S. peers. EuropaCorp’s expensive sci-fi gamble “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is a prime example of a non-Hollywood sci-fi film that failed to pay off globally.

    For now, it seems more probable for Chinese films to travel via companies investing and participating in international productions, Yu says. But she adds that China shouldn’t get trapped into feeling that a work is successful only if recognized by foreigners. “Chinese films don’t necessarily have to chase after the goal of being fully understood by Western audiences,” she says. “You don’t have to be global to be good.”
    Even if it surpasses Wolf Warrior 2, it's still Wu Jing.

    THREADS
    Wandering Earth
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    Operation Red Sea
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    April 30 - wonder if that's international or just UK?

    The Wandering Earth and China's sci-fi heritage
    By Xueting Christine Ni
    Chinese culture writer
    29 April 2019


    NETFLIX
    The Wandering Earth debuts on Netflix on 30 April

    The Wandering Earth has been billed as a breakthrough for Chinese sci-fi.

    The film tells the story of our planet, doomed by the expanding Sun, being moved across space to a safer place. The Chinese heroes have to save the mission - and humanity - when Earth gets caught in Jupiter's gravitational pull.

    Based on Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin's short story of the same name, Wandering Earth has already grossed $600m (£464m) at the Chinese box office and was called China's "giant leap into science fiction" by the Financial Times. It's been bought by Netflix and will debut there on 30 April.

    But while this may be the first time many in the West have heard of "kehuan" - Chinese science fiction - Chinese cinema has a long sci-fi history, which has given support to scientific endeavour, offered escapism from harsh times and inspired generations of film-goers.

    So for Western audiences eager to plot the rise of the Chinese sci-fi movie, here are five films I think are worth renewed attention.

    Dislocation
    Huang Jianxin, 1986

    For most in the Western world, their first encounter with Chinese cinema came from directors like Wu Tianming (The Old Well, The King of Masks) and Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Raise the Red Lantern).

    NANHAI FILMS
    Dislocation explores themes of work and artificial intelligence in a surreal dreamscape

    They were largely preoccupied with themes like the loss of youth, tradition versus change, and creating the rural aesthetic most people associated with Chinese film.

    But China in the 1980s was a scene of rapid modernisation, urbanisation and Westernisation, and films started responding to the impact of this massive change.

    In Dislocation, a scientist creates an android version of himself to attend the endless meetings that rob him of his time, in a black comedy of mechanisation and bureaucracy.

    Huang's take on the debate on artificial intelligence is superbly delivered against a surreal Kafka-esque dreamscape, with stark lighting and suspenseful music, making this film a delight to watch.

    Hopefully the new interest in kehuan will see it gain an official release in the West.

    Warrior Revived
    Li Guomin, 1995

    A grown-up style of kehuan emerged in the 1990s, reflecting the themes of identity versus technological advancement which were also occupying Western sci-fi at the time.

    SHANGHAI FILM STUDIOS
    The low budget appearance of Warrior Revived never gets in the way of its creative energy

    In Warrior Revived, police officer Song Da Wei dies a gruesome death on duty and ends up in a decade-long coma. He's brought back to life by a "miracle cure" from a biologist who has found a way to repair defective DNA.

    The genetically enhanced Song finds himself uncomfortable with the cyberised world around him, and excluded by his old comrades. Meanwhile, the heavily maimed villain he gave his life to destroy is plotting to steal the gene formula and wreak his revenge.

    Like a lot of great cyberpunk movies before the age of CGI, this early mainland kehuan impresses with its high kitsch, low-budget, imaginative approach.

    The villain's lair is filled with neon tubes, hand-crafted lab controls and walls covered with plastic bowls in the best traditions of the Tardis.

    What it lacks in sleekness it more than makes up with innovative costume designs and soundtrack, diligent camera work and the sheer energy from the cast.

    Wonder Boy
    Song Chong, 1988

    The 1980s brought a slew of Hollywood sci-fi films made for children, but which appealed equally to adults - like Explorers, Flight of The Navigator, and D.A.R.Y.L. - and filmmakers in China were taking a similar route.

    CHILDREN’S FILM STUDIO
    Wonder Boy remains popular and is still occasionally played out on national TV

    Produced by the Children's Film Studios and hailed as the nation's first children's fantasy film, Wonder Boy tells the story of a child born with the ability to generate electricity.

    Bei Bei is bullied by neighbours and kept in isolation by parents who want to protect him, but is still a caring and mischievous little boy, who uses his powers to help others and have fun in equal measure.

    When Bei Bei is taken away to be experimented on - by a non-governmental, possibly foreign group - a handful of the close friends he has made come to his rescue.

    Well-loved for its humour and accessibility, Wonder Boy is remembered in China as a great classic, and still enjoyed by children today when it is repeated on both national television and streaming services.

    Reset
    Hong-Seung Yoon, 2017

    Produced by Jackie Chan and winner of the 2017 Grand Remi for Best Feature and Best Actress, Reset is a time travel thriller, which addresses a Chinese preoccupation with personal roles in a culture that so totally promotes the good of society.

    Xia Tian (Yang Mi) is a senior researcher of wormhole technology and a single mother. When her young son is kidnapped, she is forced to hand over her research, but when the villain murders her child anyway she is forced to test her own discoveries into time travel in order to save his life, and maybe undo her own betrayal of the programme.

    BEIJING YAOYING MOVIE DISTRIBUTION CO LTD
    Reset explores the identity struggle facing many modern Chinese women

    The film is an exploration of the plight of a New Chinese Woman, who walks the line between the roles of highly skilled professional and loving mother. The psychological exploration is fantastic. With several versions of Xia being generated by her repeated time travel, the face-off between our heroine and these alternate selves, including a darker, damaged one, creates an amazing tension which is missing from so many Western takes on this classic trope.

    A female-led space kehuan story that also deals with single parenthood couldn't be more relevant in a society that is simultaneously beginning a golden space age, and struggling with attitudes to women's emancipation.

    Super Mechs
    Cui Junjie, 2018

    Wuxia, or kung fu fantasy, is so intrinsic to Chinese pop culture it was almost inevitable that its tropes would be incorporated into Chinese sci-fi.

    SEVEN ENTERTAINMENT PICTURES
    Produced exclusively for IQiyi, China's version of Netflix, Super Mechs is set in 2066 in a world where humanity has begun to experience genetic mutations which leave some people with X-Men style super powers.

    Global criminal organisations are threatening the order of society and private entities are stepping up to uphold it by developing highly advanced mechanised power suits.

    Hero Xiao Qi is an ordinary office clerk enlisted by the Dragon Clan, who reveal to him his latent mutant ice powers, before arming him with a robotic power suit and sending him on a mission. Little does Xiao Qi know that he will be greeted by another mech-suited warrior with fire-based powers who will fight him to a standstill.

    The "warriors with opposite powers" trope is a staple of the wuxia genre, but the film falls deeper down the rabbit hole when this deadly opponent is revealed to be Xiao Qi's long-lost brother.

    Add in ancient warring clans, fast-paced action between the sleek computer-generated mechanical fighters and a cheeky sense of humour from our protagonist, and the high budget Huayi Brothers production appeals to fans of superhero, kung fu and toku/tecuo films alike.

    The works of stalwart wuxia authors like Jin Yong are steadily being translated into English, so we will certainly see more from this sub-genre reach our screens.

    Acknowledging the rich and varied Chinese science fiction tradition does not at all detract from the pride in the success of Wandering Earth.

    With China's growing middle class and increased youth spending power, Chinese filmmakers are increasingly catering for a booming domestic demand for entertainment, and no longer worry as much about making their films palatable for export.

    But with more East-West co-productions in the pipeline, like the animated Next Gen which originated from a Chinese web comic, it is certainly a sensible decision for companies like Netflix to bring films from platforms like IQiyi, to an English speaking audience, and that is going to include kehuan.

    Western audiences may not immediately "get" some of these films, or may feel that some elements do not flow to their expectations.

    But Wandering Earth and the titles above are the product of China's culture and worldview. And to some extent, it's what makes them different that will pique interest, fascinate and entertain.

    Xueting Christine Ni is a writer and speaker on Chinese culture, based in the UK. She can be found on Twitter at @xuetingni
    The only film here I know is Reset because we did a sweeps promo for it two years ago. I never saw it though.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #15
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    Chinese 'Rambo' is a terrible way to characterize Wu Jing

    China’s ‘Rambo’ and Jackie Chan co-star Wu Jing returns to filming after leg injury
    The 44-year-old Beijing-born actor and director of Wolf Warrior has been plagued by injuries since he was a boy
    Jackie Chan’s co-star in Climbers has returned to the film set having spent two months in hospital
    Unus Alladin
    Published: 5:50pm, 24 Mar, 2019


    Wu Jing in Wolf Warrior 2. Photo: Handout

    China’s top martial arts star Wu Jing went straight from his hospital bed to the set of his next movie Climbers, having spent two months overseas recovering from his latest injury.
    Wu, whose Wolf Warrior franchise broke all-time box office records on the mainland, is co-starring with Hong Kong martial arts legend, Jackie Chan, in the mountain epic, Climbers, which tells the story of the first Chinese mountaineers to conquer Mount Everest in 1960.
    The 44-year-old Beijing-born Wu, who starred with American martial arts hero, Scott Adkins, in the patriotic war movie, Wolf Warrior, has rejoined his film crew in China to continue shooting his latest venture after being seen by netizens in a wheelchair at the airport on the mainland recently. His public relations team said he had been seriously injured during filming of Climbers and had emergency treatment abroad but went “straight back to his film crew after returning home”.


    American martial arts hero Scott Adkins co-starred with Wu Jing in Wolf Warrior. Photo: Handout

    Wu began shooting Climbers in January, experiencing extreme cold as he climbed the 5,254-metre Gangshika snow peak in Qinghui, China.



    It’s not known exactly how Wu had injured his leg but the martial arts star has been pictured in crutches or in a wheelchair more frequently over the years as he struggles with a series of injuries. He even appeared in crutches at his wedding to TV presenter Xie Nan in 2014.


    Wolf Warrior poster. Photo: Handout

    Since he was six years old, he has been injured either while learning martial arts in Beijing or at the film set, a similar scenario to “his older brother” martial arts superstar Jet Li, who has also been plagued by injuries and is recovering from hyperthyroidism.


    Wu Jing is wheeled by airport staff after having leg surgery. Photo: Sina Weibo


    Wu Jing in crutches. Photo: Weibo

    And recently he talked about his misfortunes in a TV interview aired on March 8, when he revealed to the host that he can obtain a “disability certificate” in China owing to his many injuries. He talked about going through pain and suffering over the years.
    Jet Li photo with daughters paints contrasting picture to Jackie Chan’s turbulent family life
    He has shown absolute dedication to his craft as an actor and director, rushing back to rejoin his film crew for Climbers.


    Climbers poster. Photo: Handout

    “I was very determined to succeed. I grew up learning about pain and experiencing a lot of pain. If you want to continue, you need to accept [the pain] and continue,” said Wu, who also starred in the Chinese sci-fi adventure The Wandering Earth which was released last month. He said it was only through such hardship could he succeed as an actor and film director.


    Wu Jing on the set of Climbers. Photo: Sina Weibo

    Chinese blockbuster The Wandering Earth may break new ground worldwide, but may not go far in Hong Kong
    Nicknamed China’s Rambo by his fans, Wu’s Wolf Warrior 2 released in 2017, which he also directed, became China’s biggest-ever grossing film, earning US$850 million in China alone. Wu’s The Wandering Earth was also a smash hit, becoming the second biggest grossing movie of all time in China, grossing US$600 million. Climbers is set to be released on National Day in China this year.
    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China star Wu Jing back on set after injury
    THREADS
    Wu Jing
    Climbers
    The Wandering Earth
    Wolf Warrior 2
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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