‘Wolf Warrior 2’ on wild box-office ride

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/14 21:23:39

A cinema in Shanghai with a poster of Wolf Warrior 2 on August 9. Photo: CFP

Wolf Warrior 2, a domestic film telling the tale of a member of the Chinese special forces heading a rescue mission of Chinese nationals amid a revolution in an unidentified African country, this weekend became the first non-Hollywood movie to enter the top 100 list of box-office rankings.

As the movie entered its 19th day of release on Monday and continued to sell tickets at a blazing pace, with box-office revenue near an eye-opening 5 billion yuan ($750 million), experts said the immense success of the film showed the depth of demand of the Chinese cinema market.

They warned, however, that domestically produced movies still have a long way to go to win global success.

Wolf Warrior 2 has achieved box-office takings of 4.6 billion yuan as of press time Monday, according to data from Chinese online ticketing platform Maoyan.

Many domestic news sites on Monday hailed the movie's achievement of becoming the first non-Hollywood production to make it into the top 100 ranking of all time box-office revenue, as compiled by Box Office Mojo, a website that tracks box office revenue.

Currently, holding the 100th spot on the ranking list is 1994 blockbuster Forrest Gump, with a global box-office take of $677.9 million.

"It is a distant roar from the Orient and an answer to Western cinematic ingenuity," a Beijing moviegoer who only gave her surname as Ge told the Global Times Monday.

"The film has a Chinese cast, it was produced in domestic studios, its directors and most leading actors are Chinese. And it gave me a similar feel as Hollywood blockbusters. In the end, the villain was not dead, so I knew right away there would be a franchise, with more in the series to follow," she said.

"It showed that we Chinese are capable of making one of the world's greatest movies, in this case one measured by box-office revenue," Ge said.

However, the movie's ticket sales outside China have been meager so far, and experts said that Chinese films have a long way to go before they can make a stir in foreign markets.

Chen Changye, a film industry analyst, said there are still weaknesses in the plot, script and production of the movie compared with Hollywood blockbusters.

"In some aspects, the gap is huge," Chen told the Global Times on Monday.

"Domestic industry players can mass-produce movies such as Wolf Warrior 2, but they can't mass-replicate its success. Chinese movies will only stand a chance to vie with Hollywood blockbusters when Chinese studios can produce movies of a higher cultural level with values that are world-class," Chen said.

But the movie demonstrates that it is fine to produce a domestic smash hit first and then venture out into the world.

"One movie... 120 million viewers... 4.6 billion yuan in box-office revenue... the compelling figures of Wolf Warrior 2 tell us the domestic movie market is a deep-pocketed one," Chen remarked.

Hou Tao, vice president of EntGroup, told the Global Times Monday that the movie also sends a clear message to Hollywood studios that they need to be sure to add elements that please Chinese audiences, since Chinese moviemakers now produce their own huge hits.

"The current blending of cultural elements [from Hollywood] is too rough. In the future, you can expect them to be more subtle," Hou said.

China-made movies that received a more successful global reception were Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and Hero in 2004, experts said.


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