Release of classic movies like Life is Beautiful and The Legend of 1900 on the Chinese mainland reflects broader market

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/5 19:49:40

Posters of Life is Beautiful

Oscar-winning 1997 Italian comedy-drama film Life Is Beautiful touched the hearts of Chinese audiences and overtook many new movies at the box office in the three days after its 22-year-late first release on the Chinese mainland. 

This success, together with the introduction of other classic movies to the mainland in 2019, including The Legend of 1900 and Spirited Away, reflects a broader Chinese movie market and diversified taste among Chinese film-goers, two decades into cooperation with the global market.

Known in Italian as La vita e bella, the film had not been released on the Chinese mainland before. The 4K version of the film hit mainland theaters on January 3, as reported by Xinhua News Agency.

Although they had viewed the movie online many times, Chinese film-goers flooded the theaters, saying that they owed it a ticket.

“Reality proves that, no matter whether in theaters, or on computers or iPads, good movies can always touch people’s hearts,” a woman surnamed Zhao, who watched the movie on Saturday, told the Global Times.

She said she liked the attitude of finding joy in misery as expressed in the film. 

“I hope more classic movies could be released on the mainland as they are the start point for many Chinese movie fans,” a Net user commented.  

The release of such classic movies as The Legend of 1900, Life is Beautiful and Spirited Away, fills a missing part of the film repertoire for Chinese audiences, Shi Wenxue, teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times Sunday. 

There is a psychological demand that makes for a broad market on the mainland, so that these classics can cause a stir even years after their release overseas, Shi said. 

Asked why the film missed release on the mainland two decades ago, Shi explained that film in China had only just started to function as a market at that time, and the country was still in negotiation over joining the World Trade Organization, so rules and policies on foreign film introduction had not yet been set. 

Besides, action movies accounted for most of the films introduced to China, according to Shi.  

But after years of development and cooperation with global partners, the Chinese market had broadened and audiences’ taste had diversified.

Directed by and starring Roberto Benigni, who also co-wrote the story, the film revolves around a Jewish Italian bookshop owner who employs his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp.

The film won numerous awards, including the 1999 Oscar for best actor, best foreign-language film and best original score.

The movie had netted more than 20 million yuan ($2.87 million) as of Sunday and was rated 9.5/10 on Douban, China’s IMDb-like media review website. 

Its daily box office ranked fifth on China's top box office ticket platform Maoyan on Sunday, overtaking many new films. 

A 4k version of The Legend of 1900 was also released for the first time on the mainland on November 15, netting about 140 million yuan in a single month.


blog comments powered by Disqus