An­i­ma­tors urged to do more for Chi­nese box of­fice

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By XU­FAN

While Chi­nese cine­mas are achiev­ing record sales, very few of the top scor­ers are an­i­ma­tion ti­tles.

In 2015, the coun­try’s box­of­fice tak­ings touched 44.1 bil­lion yuan ($7 bil­lion), up 48 per­cent year-on-year. But the nearly 60 do­mes­tic an­i­ma­tion films con­trib­uted only 4.5 per­cent to that amount, with Mon­key King: Hero Is Back, adapted from the Chi­nese lit­er­ary clas­sic Jour­ney to the West, mak­ing the most money.

It has been 90 years since the first Chi­nese an­i­ma­tion film was re­leased. The blackand-whiteUproar in the Stu­dio is said to have been made by two broth­ers in Shang­hai.

At the an­nual China In­ter­na­tional Cartoon and An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val, which is run­ning through May 2 in Hangzhou, cap­i­tal of East China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, film­mak­ers dis­cussed ways to lift the strug­gling genre. Event or­ga­niz­ers also said that some 60 an­i­ma­tion films will be out by the end of the year.

From Jan­uary to March, an­i­ma­tion films earned 3 bil­lion yuan in box-of­fice rev­enues, ac­cord­ing to fes­ti­val of­fi­cial ZhuYuqing. Based on this, he says the out­look is pos­i­tive.

Huang Qun­fei, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Huaxia Film Dis­tri­bu­tion Co, one of two com­pa­nies in China that are autho­rized to dis­trib­ute for­eign films, says: “More ma­jor stu­dios and in­ter­net be­he­moths such as En­lightMe­dia, Huayi Broth­ers, Ten­cent and Alibaba have tapped into the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try. It gives more fi­nan­cial sup­port to the busi­ness.”

Many up­com­ing an­i­ma­tion films have de­tailed sets and sto­ry­lines, trade an­a­lysts say.

Most of China’s ma­jor film stu­dios are seek­ing co­op­er­a­tion with for­eign part­ners, and the re­sults have been en­cour­ag­ing so far.

Sun Duck, an ac­tion com­edy about an al­liance of armed ducks fight­ing an evil force, has been jointly pro­duced by China, Rus­sia and theUnited States.

The film, which cost 130 mil­lion yuan, is set for re­lease on the Chi­nese main­land in July.

Mi­nus­cule: Mandibles from Far Away, a Si­noFrench pro­duc­tion, is an­other ex­am­ple. The film, ex­pected to be re­leased in 2018, re­volves on in­sects’ en­deav­ors and is the 200mil­lion-yuan se­quel to Mi­nus­cule: Val­ley of Lost Ants, a 2014 hit.

An­other Sino-French pro­duc­tion, Olympia, which nar­rates a porce­lain fig­urine’s “ad­ven­tures”, is ex­pected to be out in Jan­uary 2018.

His­tor­i­cal fig­ures from 18th-cen­tury France and an­cient China were cho­sen to cre­ate the char­ac­ters­byaChi­nese team of an­i­ma­tors, Maia Tu­biana, the film’s French ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, says.

Do­mes­tic films, ac­count­ing for 80 per­cent of all new ti­tles to be re­leased in the next two years, are get­ting some at­ten­tion as well.

They in­clude: The Lady­bug, Light­ing Dindin, Trea­sure of Yu the Great, Seer Movie VI, T-Guardians and Kunta: The Float­ing Planet.

While trade an­a­lysts are hop­ing that Chi­nese an­i­ma­tion films­make more­money, they ques­tion the pro­mo­tion of se­quels to con­tro­ver­sial films.

The Au­torobots, for ex­am­ple, which has been in­volved in a pla­gia­rism row since its re­lease last sum­mer, is likely to have a se­quel by 2017.


Up­com­ing ti­tles — Kunta: TheFloat­ingPlanet (top) and Light­ingDindin.

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