China's May Day box office is anticipated to reach $305 million despite lack of foreign blockbusters
Published: Mar 29, 2021 10:48 PM Updated: Mar 30, 2021 02:54 PM
Photo:Sina Weibo

Photo:Sina Weibo

China’s homegrown films are likely to see fierce competition at the box office during China’s Labor Day holiday (May 1-5), with no major imported blockbusters lined up for release that weekend.

Amid the lack of Hollywood’s presence in cinemas during that time, experts predict that the holiday box office will still surpass that of 2019’s based on the strength of China’s domestic films and will finally reach 2 billion yuan ($305 million).

Photo:Sina Weibo

Photo:Sina Weibo

A total of 10 Chinese films, including Zhang Yimou’s first spy thriller Impasse, the female star driven flick Hero, video game based fantasy film Dynasty Warriors and adventure suspense film Schemes In Antiques, are set to release during the May Labor Day holiday. The 10 films cover a range of genres, including comedy, fantasy, animation, crime, action and suspense. 

“The genres of the Labor Day films are even more lavish than the 2021 Chinese New Year holiday,” Shi Wenxue, a film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Monday. 

“The box office for this May holiday will surpass that of 2019, as this Labor Day holiday is five days long – two days longer than previous years – so people will have more leisure time to head to cinemas,” Shi added. 

However, this rich variety of genres won’t be enough to topple the soaring box office of 2021’s Chinese New Year period as the two schedules are not on the same level, Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghia, told the Global Times on Monday. 

“At present, the pandemic situation in China is stabilizing, and vaccination is also progressing in an orderly manner. It is believed that more people will choose to travel instead of going to theaters during the holiday,” said Xiao. 

According to Shi, because the actors and directors behind the Labor Day films are of the same caliber, screen share will be relatively even compared to the imbalanced screen share seen during the Chinese New Year.
Both experts predicted that the Labor Day box office can reach 2 billion yuan . 

Some rumor are also spreading online that Bona Film Group’s Chinese Doctors will set its premiere date on April 30. 

If Chinese Doctors joins the competition, the box office could hit 2.5 billion yuan and that film would without a doubt be the frontrunner, say both experts. If it is not in the list, the two predict Impasse and Hero will be the top two highest earners. 

Xiao pointed out that Impasse and Schemes In Antiques are both produced by the Emperor Group, so the company may adjust their release dates to prevent them from “killing each other.”

According to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan, the top four most anticipated films among Chinese moviegoers are Hero, Home Sweet Home, Schemes In Antiques and Dynasty Warriors

During the highly competitive holiday, it is unlikely that any imported films will be able to take a piece of pie. 

“Currently, the most eye-catching foreign film for Chinese audience is the superhero film Black Widow, but that has been moved to July in North America, so it is not possible for it to come before May,” said Xiao.