China's film market embraces premium foreign productions

(Xinhua) 10:51, October 03, 2023

Audiences buy popcorn and drinks at a cinema in Yubei District of Chongqing, southwest China, July 30, 2023. (Xinhua/Chu Jiayin)

BEIJING, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- China's eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday began on Friday, and the world's second-largest film market is embracing a busy, lucrative moviegoing season.

"Oppenheimer," a biopic written and directed by Christopher Nolan, has raked in nearly 430 million yuan (around 59.9 million U.S. dollars) in box office revenue as of Sunday, according to figures from Chinese film data platform Maoyan.

The film is one of several imported productions in 2023 that have won over Chinese audiences with their exceptional storytelling and execution.

Since its release on Aug. 30, "Oppenheimer" has amassed over 520,000 ratings on Douban, China's leading film-rating platform, achieving a score of 8.8 out of 10 points.

Renowned Chinese filmmaker Xie Fei spoke highly of the movie on his Douban account, saying, "Nolan's exceptional filmmaking is a highlight, but his profound reflection on history through the film is even more commendable."

Since the beginning of this year, Chinese moviegoers have been treated to a diverse array of foreign films.

From blockbuster franchises like "Fast and Furious," "Transformers" and "Mission: Impossible" to superhero megahits such as "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" and "The Flash," a wide range of international offerings have hit Chinese screens.

In addition to the typical Hollywood fare, European dramas like "A Man Called Otto" and "Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris" made their way to Chinese viewers, offering them a different cinematic experience. Notably, the classic James Cameron production "Titanic," which was first shown in mainland theaters in 1998, returned to Chinese screens this year.

Japanese films have also made a significant impact. Following their respective Chinese premieres in March and April, animated films "Suzume" and "The First Slam Dunk" both maintained their top-five positions on the daily Chinese box office chart for several weeks.

Amid the robust post-pandemic recovery of China's film industry, growing numbers of viewers are flocking to cinemas to see high-quality movies in diverse genres that reflect the rich cultural tapestry of the world.

Audiences select seats at a cinema in Shanghai, east China, July 30, 2023. (Xinhua/Xin Mengchen)

Premium foreign productions like "Oppenheimer" have gained approval from audiences in China. Of the 15 highest-grossing imported films in 2023, nine have to date garnered ratings of 7.5 or higher from users on Douban, and five have achieved ratings of 8 or above.

"The First Slam Dunk," an adaptation of the popular 1990s "Slam Dunk" basketball manga series, ignited a wave of nostalgia in China, with many cinemagoers dressing up as their favorite characters to watch the film.

With nearly 300,000 viewers on Douban giving it an overall high rating of 8.9, the film has claimed the top spot on the 2023 imported film chart.

Live-action sensation "Barbie," currently boasting a Douban rating of 8.1, sparked heated discussion among Chinese web users over its feminist themes. "The Barbie story may appear absurd, yet it holds a mirror to reality," one Douban user wrote.

With three months remaining this year, several more foreign productions are expected to be screened in cinemas in China, including Hollywood superhero film "The Marvels" and Thai romantic drama "Fast and Feel Love."

"Just looking at the poster gets me super excited," a Weibo user commented in response to a poster release for "The Marvels."

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Sheng Chuyi)


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