Five domestic films set for release during Chinese Lunar New Year
Published: Jan 04, 2023 02:16 AM
The poster of the movie The Wandering Earth Photo: VCG

The poster of the movie The Wandering Earth Photo: VCG

A total of five domestic films are set to be screened in Chinese cinemas during the Chinese Lunar New Year film season. Film critics said high-quality films with box office appeal can effectively accelerate the recovery of the industry, and predicted that the total box office for the season will exceed 7 billion yuan ($1 billion).

The Wandering Earth 2, sequel to sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth, is currently the most-anticipated new film on Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan. The number of people who want to watch it has exceeded 720,000, and views of trailers have exceeded 3.38 million, according to Chinese ticketing platform Lighthouse.

The Wandering Earth topped the rankings during the 2019 Chinese Lunar New Year film season with box office takings of 4.69 billion yuan. 

Chinese director Zhang Yimou's Full River Red is another highly anticipated new film. The name Full River Red comes from a poem by Yue Fei, a military general during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) who was well-known for his patriotism and loyalty to his country. The film tells a historical story based on the era of the Southern Song Dynasty.

Another new film, Hidden Blade, starring Hong Kong veteran Tony Leung and Chinese mainland star Wang Yibo is also scheduled to be premiered during the Chinese Lunar New Year. The film will tell a story set during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Deep Sea, a Chinese animation feature will also be released during the Chinese Lunar New Year, it was announced on Tuesday. The director, Tian Xiaopeng, also made the 2015 animated blockbuster Monkey King: Hero is Back, which grossed 955 million yuan. Tian said in an interview that he had spent seven years making Deep Sea.

The team spent two years on groundbreaking research and development of "particle ink animation" to realize the combination of Chinese ink painting and 3D technology. The animation constructs a fresh underwater world, and tells the story of a girl who explores the mysterious sea world and has a unique journey.

Boonie Bears: Guardian Code, a film version of the Boonie Bears franchise, is set to be popular with Chinese children.

According to Lighthouse, the number of cinemas operating nationwide reached 10,606 on Tuesday, with an operating rate of 84.3 percent. 

After changes including the postponement of film releases and temporary withdrawals in 2022, production and distribution companies have a certain number of films waiting to be aired, making the box office data for the film market in 2023 more unpredictable, Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times. Shi said he expects that the total box office for the season will exceed 7 billion yuan.

"As the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on society is getting smaller, film production companies have more confidence to release their films, which could continue to warm up the Chinese film market in 2023," film critic Jiang Yong told the Global Times.