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Chinese movie market in 2019: fun, innovative and unexpected

(People's Daily Online)    14:45, December 19, 2019


Editor's note: Do you want to know about the most fascinating things that happened in 2019 in China? The deployment of the world's largest 5G network? The new regulation regarding waste management? Or China's sci-fi movies entering the global market? In this episode of This year in one minute, People's Daily Online will explain everything to you with a video and an article. Check it out!

Expected to become the world's largest cinema market by 2020, China's ambition is not limited to its rise in screens and audience numbers. Now, the country wants a shot at the global movie industry, promoting domestic movies worldwide.

According to statistics, by Dec. 14, the country's box office revenue had already surpassed the total in 2018, reaching 60.9 billion yuan, with domestic movies accounting for 37 percent of that figure. Eight domestic films entered the top ten list, with Ne Zha, China's first Imax animation garnering almost five billion yuan in box office revenue alone.

Chinese movies have also set new records this year: its first sci-fi movie was purchased by Netflix, and it was translated into 28 languages, while China's first Imax animation became the highest-grossing non-U.S. animated film in history. Below, we look back over China's movie hits of 2019!

China's first large-scale sci-fi movie: The Wandering Earth

If you're after a thrilling movie suggestion, look no further. The Wandering Earth, which is based on an award-winning novel, tells the story of humanity's struggle with natural disasters and a dying planet.

The movie is set in a parallel universe in the year of 2061, where humans are facing extinction thanks to the sun turning into a red giant, threatening to wipe out the planet in three centuries. A father and son duo rise to the challenge of saving humanity, showing the lengths people will go to for life and love.

The film is China's first attempt in sci-fi and grossed 700 million US dollars worldwide, including 693 million in China. The movie is the third highest-grossing non-English film to date, and has generally received positive reviews worldwide, with The Hollywood Reporter describing it as "China's first full-scale interstellar spectacular." Netflix has also made an unprecedented move by acquiring the film's global streaming rights to air it in various nations.

A mix of old and new: Ne Zha

Japan and the US are well known for their animated movies, with Disney princesses and Studio Ghibli magicians finding their way to all corners of the globe. Still, China's newest animated film, Ne Zha, may leave you in tears of sadness, joy, and contemplation.

Featuring the popular Chinese mythological character Nezha, the plot is based on the classic novel Investiture of the Gods, which was written during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). In the movie, Nezha, a well-known mythological character in China, is depicted as a child born with a curse. Naughty and untamed, his parents try their best to give him a comfortable home and encourage him to be a better version of himself. He later makes a friend, the dragon prince, and begins fighting evil and in the process, finding out about himself.

The movie was a hit, becoming the highest-grossing non-U.S. animated film and the second-highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time. Grossing a solid $725 million, it was selected as the Chinese entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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