Over 30 do­mes­tic films in the works

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By XUFAN

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.

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