BEIJING, Jan. 27 -- China's upcoming new year festival season may see a new milestone for box office sales, with domestic movies and foreign blockbusters scheduled to hit the screen.
Two Chinese films, "The Monkey King" and "Dad, Where Are We Going?" have drawn special attention from audiences even before their release and are poised to be box office smashes.
"The Monkey King," featuring Hong Kong stars Chow Yun Fat, Donnie Yen and Aaron Kwok, will be released on Jan. 31, the first day of Chinese new year, in over 30 countries and regions, including Taiwan, Singapore and Russia. Movie industry watchers expect it to hit a new high for a Chinese film's overseas box office sales.
"The Monkey King" is based on an ancient Chinese legend and features one of the most renowned characters among East Asians. Revenue of overseas pre-sale tickets for "The Monkey King" has already surpassed 180 million yuan (29.8 million U.S. dollars).
"Dad, Where Are We Going?", a reality TV program on parenting and outdoor adventures, has been the most talked-about show in China, inspiring parents to try the show's activity ideas with their children. The film version will feature the same cast and filming crew, and is expected to draw an even larger audience than the show.
Meanwhile, several animated films will debut to cater to kids and boost parent-child bonding during the holiday vacation period, when parents often take their children to the cinema.
The new animated films include Hollywood blockbusters such as "Saving Santa," "Frozen," and "Free Birds," and Chinese originals like "The Popular Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf series: Meet the Pegasus" and "I Am a Wolf," which are backed by cutting-edge visual technology and all-star voice casts to compete with their foreign counterparts.
China has made rapid progress in the film industry in recent years. In 2013, box office sales neared 21.8 billion yuan (3.6 billion U.S dollars), and domestic films raked in about 12.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 54.3 percent.
During the week-long Lunar new year holiday in 2013, box office sales nationwide topped 760 million yuan with 19.25 million people going to the cinema. Both figures set historical records.