A total of 10 films set to take on Dragon Boat Festival box office
Published: Jun 05, 2024 10:49 PM
Promotional material for the film Crisis Negotiators Photo:IC

Promotional material for the film Crisis Negotiators Photo:IC

A total of 10 films are scheduled to hit the big screen during the Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, with a rich variety of film genres and themes expected to spark the first box-office peak of the summer season.

The 10 films, including two Hollywood productions, span the genres of crime, comedy, war, family, and mystery, with seven of them generating considerable buzz before their official premiere during the three-day holidays. 

Based on presales data from Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan, domestic crime films Crisis Negotiators and Walk the Line are the top two. 

Crime film Crisis Negotiators tells the story of a senior negotiator who inadvertently rises to the top of the suspect list in a murder case. 

The senior negotiator is compelled to seize control of the police station and hold the officers captive. Another former negotiator is assigned to speak with him. 

As of Wednesday morning, the total presale box office (including previews) for new films set for the Duanwu Festival has surpassed 97 million yuan ($13.66 million), according to box-office tracking site Dengta. 

Yin Tengyu, a senior analyst at the Maoyan Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday that although the holiday is short, it typically marks the beginning of the summer box-office period.

"With students gradually starting their vacations, the Duanwu period serves as a prelude to the summer season, helping heat up the box office," said Yin. 

The expert also added that in recent years, a significant number of films have been scheduled for release during the period.

According to data from the China Film Administration, the box-office revenue for the 2023 Dragon Boat Festival (June 22 to 24) reached 909 million yuan, making it the second highest box-office performance in the history of the festival. 

Suspense film Lost in the Stars emerged as a phenomenal hit in 2023 by accounting for 56 percent of the box office.

Zhang Tong, another senior analyst at the Maoyan Research Institute, told the Global Times that compared with 2023, Chinese audiences have extensive viewing options this year. 

"This year's lineup appears to be dominated by mid-budget films, covering a variety of genres including crime, comedy, war, family, mystery, and animation," said Zhang. 

"Both domestic and international films provide audiences with ample choices. However, there is currently no standout big-budget film, which might impact overall box-office performance," Zhang noted. 

This year, the Spring Festival and Qingming Festival periods achieved record-high box-office takes. The Dragon Boat Festival this year offers a rich lineup of movies, catering to the diverse preferences of audiences with some having the potential to become box-office dark horses.

Directed by Wubai, Walk the Line is a crime comedy focusing on the crackdown on criminal gangs, while Hong Kong production Crisis Negotiators is adapted from the US film The Negotiator and stars Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng. 

Starring Hu Ge and Gao Yuanyuan, Gold or Shit is a family comedy film that explores modern family relationships and personal growth. At the recently concluded 14th Beijing International Film Festival, it was awarded the best film, best screenplay and best supporting actress.

The two imported films are dystopian thriller Civil War and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

Youth comedy film Be My Friend was adapted from the hit TV series of the same name and is estimated to be popular among students. 

Regarding the void of big-budget films during the holidays, Yin said due to high production costs and long production cycles, commercial blockbusters are typically slated for peak periods such as the Spring Festival, National Day holidays, and the summer holidays.

"Smaller budget yet high-quality films will have better potential box office, achieving total box-office revenues higher than expected through long-term screenings," said Yin.