Chinese heroes KO US super heroine at mainland box office

By Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/20 21:36:48

Wonder Woman File Photo: IC

As 2020 draws to an end, things are heating up at the Chinese mainland box office as two blockbuster films, The Rescue directed by Dante Lam, and Hollywood superhero film Wonder Woman 1984, were released on Friday. However, it remains to be seen if the two films will be enough to help the mainland box office break past the 20 billion yuan ($3.06 billion) mark in 2020.

According to data from Maoyan, China's largest ticketing platform, The Rescue brought in 200 million yuan over the weekend, almost double Wonder Woman 1984's 111 million yuan. 

While The Rescue beat out Wonder Woman 1984 at the box office, audience reception of both films has been lukewarm at best, with many Chinese netizens commenting in reviews and on social media that neither film lived up to their expectations. 

Prior to the release of the two films, industry analysts were looking to them to be the final straws that would enable to Chinese mainland 2020 box office reach the 20 billion yuan mark. However, with 1.79 billion yuan left to go and with both films performing below opening weekend estimates, film industry analysts have been left wondering if this goal is now attainable. 

"The two blockbusters in December obviously did not achieve the results the industry expected. With the performance of these two movies falling short, this year's 20 billion goal needs to have a question mark added to it," one Chinese netizen wrote on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Currently, The Rescue has a 6.3/10 on Chinese media review site Douban, while Wonder Woman 1984 has a 6.7/10. 

Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday that compared to the successful 2017 Wonder Woman, the sequel falls short when it comes to its story, which has resulted in its current low box office.

"Wonder Woman 1984 is trying to sell a story that how to persuade a desperate person to give up superpowers acquired by accident and return to and embrace reality again. Unfortunately, the story shown in the film is not that convincing, leading to unclear logic and a chaotic plot," said Xiao. 

Chinese action flick The Rescue was once scheduled to compete during the 2020 Chinese New Year movie season but was delayed after the COVID-19 outbreak shut down theaters in China. The film was highly anticipated as it follows Lam's action films Operation Mekong and Operation Red Sea, the latter of which earned 3.65 billion yuan to become the fifth high-earning film in China. 

The Rescue follows a team of rescuers from the China Rescue and Salvage Department of the Chinese Ministry of Transport as they overcome personal differences during a series of daring missions by air and sea.

Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday that the reason that The Rescue has not earned high marks is due to its incoherent rhythm and exaggerated emotional drama.

"The Rescue might earn a box office of about 500 million, while the box office of Wonder Woman 1984 is estimated to be less than 300 million. But we still have a chance of breaking 20 billion yuan in 2020 as the upcoming Qing Ya Ji, Shock Wave 2 and A Little Red Flower might surprise us," said Shi. 


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