Chinese New Year Films Enter into Rivalry; Shanghai Productions Outstand in the Industry
As the Chinese New Year draws near, people begin to plan ways of spending their Spring Holiday and are gradually drawn by the cinemas. Compared to last year, Chinese New Year Films of 2019 are in fiercer competitions. Produced by PMF Pictures and directed by HAN Han, the film PEGASUS, with a figure of RMB 22 million, has topped the recently launched presales. Together with CRAZY ALIEN, a film co-produced by Shanghai Huanxi Media and THE NEW KING OF COMEDY, a film co-invested by Shanghai New Culture, the three films lead the Chinese New Year film lineup. What’s more, the earlier released THE BIG SHOT produced by Shanghai Xiyan Culture was the first film made by a Shanghai company to reach the 100 billion box office threshold in 2019. It’s fair to say Shanghai Productions guarantee the quality and box office of Chinese films.
The “Big Three” of the Chinese New Year Films
In 2018, films released during the Chinese New Year grossed RMB 5.65 billion, and the most popular ones are OPERATION RED SEA, DETECTIVE CHINATOWN II and MONSTER HUNT 2, with DETECTIVE CHINATOWN II being the first film reaching RMB 300 billion one-day box office threshold for five consecutive days in China.
This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 5. A total of nine films will be released on the very day, which includes THE WANDERING EARTH, an adaption from LIU Cixin’s novel, THE KNIGHT OF SHADOWA: BETWEEN YIN AND YANG starring Jackie CHEN and INTEGRITY starring Nick CHEUNG and Shawn Andy, apart from the above mentioned three ones. Up until the release of the news, the pre-sale box office on February 5 has exceeded RMB 1.04517 billion. The festival is still 20 days away, while the heated presales are signifying a record high box office for the Chinese New Year films.
Diversified new films will undoubtedly divide the box office. The cinema goers’ initial choice layout has been revealed by the present pre-sale. The three leading films, namely PEGASUS by HAN Han, CRAZY ALIEN by NING Hao and THE NEW KING OF COMEDY by Stephen CHOW are expected to become the winners of screen schedules. At present, PEGASUS produced in Shanghai topped the pre-sale with RMB 30.87 million, which is closely followed by CRAZY ALIEN and THE NEW KING OF COMEDY, respectively with a pre-sale of RMB 29.62 million and RMB 20.22 million, indicating fierce competition. With the audience’s rising enthusiasm and the increasingly improving film production quality, The biggest winner might be the ones who harvest good critic reviews.
Distinctive “Shanghai Productions”
As a buzz word in the film and television industry in recent years, “Shanghai Production” has gradually become a guarantee of reputation and quality. Data shows that in 2018, Shanghai continued to exceed other cities in China not only in terms of the number of cinemas and screens, but also the annual box office which reached 3.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.63%. Shanghai continued to win the annual national city box office champion, and there are 35 films produced by Shanghai companies were in cinemas, taking a total of 10.4 billion yuan at the box office, accounting for 27.4% of that of all domestic productions. In Shanghai, the screenings reached 4.03 million times, with 87.65 million audience, a year-on-year increase of 19.78% and 5.54% respectively.
The box office hits DYING TO SURVIVE, THE ISLAND and PROJECT GUTENBERG were produced by Shanghai companies, receiving good market performances and good reputation while being critically acclaimed. Those works are mostly supported by the “special funds for the development of the Shanghai film industry”, behind which are Shanghai Government’s effort in upgrading mechanism and the policy of encouraging the creating, shooting, and releasing of good films.
The 3 Chinese New Year films in the starting lineup are also characterized in a certain way by the label “Shanghai”: HAN Han’s third film PEGASUS was initiated and shot in Shanghai; CRAZY ALIEN was shot and co-produced by the Dirty Monkey, a company in Shanghai owned by NING Hao, and Shanghai New Culture is among the investment parties for THE NEW KING OF COMEDY. There is a scene in PEGASUS where over 20 cars are in a race, for which the film crew builds a professional studio in Songjiang District, Shanghai for the shooting of cars leaving the garage. The Shanghai film service agency, which only started a few years ago and has serviced countless film crews, has provided support for them without charge and helped with the otherwise difficult shooting on elevated highways.