National Day holiday film slate ignites moviegoer enthusiasm in China

By Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/18 17:53:41

Promotional material of Legend of Deification Photo: Snapshot of Sina Weibo

The recent announcement that two high-profile Chinese films will be released during China's National Day has ignited the passion of many Chinese moviegoers to head to theaters, leading many film experts to predict that the Chinese film industry is well on the way to recovery.

On Sunday, it was announced that 3D animated fantasy adventure film Legend of Deification will be released on September 30, the day before China's National Day. The day after, director Peter Chan's Leap, starring Gong Li and Huang Bo, followed step with the announcement of a National Day release.  

The two films, together with movies Detective Chinatown Vol. 3, The Rescue and Vanguard, were originally scheduled to hit theaters in January during Chinese New Year, but were postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Also looking to compete on National Day is My People, My Homeland. The companion piece to the anthology film My People, My Country, the new film will feature segments directed by well-known directors Zhang Yimou, Ning Hao and Xu Zheng. 

The hashtag "Chinese New Year blockbusters return" had earned 170 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Tuesday afternoon.

Many Chinese netizens took to social media to express their excitement and anticipation for the films, with many saying they were dreaming about "living at the cinema during National Day" to watch all the films.

"I truly applaud the brave filmmakers who have persisted till now. There are too many good films to pick from. I am afraid I won't be able to go home during the seven-day holiday because I will stay in the cinema," one Chinese netizen wrote on Sina Weibo. 

"Since Legend of Deification and Leap have announced their released date, will other films follow in their footsteps?" one netizen posted.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic and a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times that not every film that was postponed would premiere during the National Day holiday as some were sure to wait until Christmas or Chinese New Year 2021. 

Xiao Fuqiu - a media spokesman for film studio Elemeet, which produced the Xinjiang film A First Farewell - echoed Shi's opinion, saying that the number of blockbusters that can be accommodated during the same period is limited. He also noted that many films still in production were fighting over studio space for filming.

Si Ke, a project director at SKMR Global Films Company, told the Global Times that the industry should expect to see a rise in films about anti-epidemic efforts and patriotism. 

The announcement, along with the recent move to increase seating capacity limits to 50 percent in many cities across China, has led many Chinese film experts state that China's film and television industry is nearing a full recovery. 

According to reports, more than 8,000 theaters in China, more than 70 percent, have reopened.

According to Xiao, if super blockbusters such as The Eight HundredTenet and Mulan can ignite people's enthusiasm for movies and do well at the box office, then domestic film market has a high chance to return to normal by October.

However, due to the coronavirus, film investment, production and marketing are still facing challenges, which may create roadblocks for the industry's full recovery, Shi noted. 

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