Over 30 domestic films in the works
For movie enthusiasts curious about next year’s blockbusters, China’s Film Co Ltd, the country’s largest producer and distributor, recently offered an answer: Up to 33 new titles will be released or shot in the Year of Monkey.
The list released on Tuesday shows the industry giant has four tentpole-scale movies, a majority of the six known so far, to compete on Feb 8, the first day of China’s Lunar New Year.
Usually the Spring Festival holiday marks one of the busiest periods for film releases.
Last year, the record receipts earned during the festival helped China to overtake the United States for the first time in the monthly box-office stakes in February.
Among the four blockbusters, history buffs can expect to see the biopic Xuan Zang, based on the Buddhist monk’s pilgrimage to India around 1,300 years ago.
Another blockbuster with connections to the monk is TheMonkey King 2, an actionfantasy film inspired by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) novel Journey to the West, which fictionalizes Xuan Zang’s expedition.
Hong Kong veteran filmmaker StephenChow’s fantasy comedy, Only You, which marks the return of the “king of comedy” after a three-year gap, is also highly rated.
A popular view online says Chinese mainland fans “owe cinema tickets to Chow”, as most of his early classics — which influenced generations of Chinese — could be seen only on videotapes in late 1990s and early 2000s.
The sequel of Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will no doubt be a must-see for martial arts fans.
Despite the disappointment that the director was replaced by Yuen Woo-ping and only Chinese-Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh reprises her role, the big-budget epic has drawn a lot of attention.
The one-minute trailer released earlier this month received nearly 370,000 clicks on the video-streaming site iQiyi.com.
Kung Fu Panda 3, the third installment of the highestgrossing animated franchise in the history of Chinese cinema, also has the backing of China Film Group.
Other movies in line to be released next year include China’s Salesman, the sequel of the 2013 hit comedy American Dreams in China, and the military-themed feature Our Wars, which is about theWar to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53).
Also being released next year is the Chinese remake of Julia Roberts’ 1997 hit romance comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding. The film starring Shu Qi and Feng Shaofeng is another key project from China Film Co.
Chinese sci-fi movies are also on the list. The Arctic, about humans being under attacks from mysterious creatures, will be released in 2016. The Wandering Earth and The Era of Supernova — both adapted from the Hugo Award-winning Liu Cixin’s novels — are in the pipeline.
Revolutionary films, a genre familiar to state-owned China Film Co, will continue be a popular segment in 2016. The list of films in this group includes Jian Jun Da Ye (The Founding of an Army), the finale of a trilogy chronicling New China’s history, and The External Wave, a remake of a 1958 classic.
China’s annual box-office takings for 2015 were nearly 42 billion yuan as of Tuesday, up 47.1 percent year on year, says La Peikang, chairman of China Film Co.
The figures show that domestic filmmakers have lots of opportunity in the fastgrowing market and that the firm will make use of its advantage to boost the local industry, says La.