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February 27, 2024

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New releases after China’s Spring Festival box office hits record high

Boosted by a record-breaking revenue of more than 8 billion yuan during the Spring Festival holiday, which ran from February 10 to 17, China’s box-office earnings have surpassed the impressive milestone of 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) this month.

Jia Ling, the comedian who made waves three years ago with her self-written, self-directed and self-starring comedy “Hi, Mom,” has returned with yet another comedic triumph, “YOLO.”

This holiday season, “YOLO” has emerged as the reigning champion at the box office, raking in a staggering 3.16 billion yuan, accounting for 31 percent of the total monthly box office revenue thus far.

Chen Xuguang, director of Peking University’s Institute of Film, Television and Theater, has emphasized the profound connection between the uplifting life story of the protagonist and Jia’s own personal journey of weight loss. This connection weaves a powerful modern-day allegory that resonates with audiences.

“The movie serves as an inspiring guide, balancing humor and tears, and has enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim, despite some controversies,” Chen said.

According to film platform Maoyan, “YOLO” is projected to wrap up its theatrical run with a total revenue of 3.55 billion yuan.

Securing the second spot on the monthly box-office chart is “Pegasus 2,” the highly anticipated sequel to writer-director Han Han’s 2019 blockbuster racing film. “Pegasus 2” has earned an impressive 2.88 billion yuan.

Zhang Yimou’s comedy film, “Article 20,” has claimed the third spot with box-office receipts of 1.85 billion yuan.

Drawing inspiration from Article 20 of China’s Criminal Law, and delving into the intricate and sometimes contentious legal concept of justifiable self-defense, the film has sparked fervent online debates and garnered praise from critics.

Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association, hailed the work as a testament to the filmmakers’ social responsibility and commitment, which utilizes the power of cinema to advance progress in law and society.

The long-running animated film series “Boonie Bears,” which has consistently released new movies since its theatrical debut in 2014, secured a respectable fourth position on the chart with its latest installment, “Boonie Bears: Time Twist,” grossing an impressive 1.71 billion yuan.

Industry analysts credit the success of these four films, all released during the holiday season, to their “family-friendly” nature, perfectly aligning with the cultural atmosphere and consumer psychology surrounding Chinese New Year celebrations. This positioning has made them an indispensable choice for moviegoers during the festive season.

The robust performance of the film market this month has also boosted industry insiders’ confidence in Chinese cinema in 2024, when an array of highly anticipated productions in diverse genres will be released.

In March, movie buffs will also be offered a few blockbuster movies. Here are some of the most anticipated films that will hit cinemas across China next month.

‘Madame Web’

Release date: March 1

Starring Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney, the sci-fi action film is based on the Marvel Comics character. It is a story about New York paramedic Cassandra Webb, who demonstrates signs of clairvoyance. In the film, she needs to protect three young women from a deadly adversary with the power of viewing the future.

The superhero film also has an IMAX version. In the Marvel Comics, Madame Web is a mysterious heroine who offers guidance to Spider-Man.

‘The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon’

Release date: March 1

Based on real cases, the action-packed suspense crime film is about how a wanted criminal Chen Guilin eliminates the top two on the wanted list and makes a name for himself.

Written and directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Ching-po, the film stars Ethan Juan and features many action and chase scenes to depict the criminal’s road to self-redemption.

‘The Killing Performance’

Release date: March 2

This suspense comedy film tells the story of the mysterious death of a famous Peking Opera actress. An unreliable private detective and eight suspects in the murder are kidnapped in a theater to learn the truth within only four hours.

The plot is shrouded in mystery as each person has a hidden motive for the murder. The film also incorporates comedic and bizarre elements into the plot.

‘Dune: Part Two’

Release date: March 8

Based on Frank Herbert’s futuristic sci-fi novel where humans live on many different planets, the adventure epic film centers on Paul Atreides’ hunger for revenge against the clan who destroyed his family, and his partnership with Chani and the Fremen to take back their land.

The first part of “Dune” was a critical and financial success in 2021, earning more than US$400 million worldwide. Starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, the sequel also has an IMAX version to present stunning visuals of its gripping scenes.

‘Remember Me’

Release date: March 15

Starring Kara Wai and Liu Haocun, this drama revolves around the reunion of a kind-hearted woman and her granddaughter who accidentally got lost 12 years earlier. The two go from being strangers to cuddling each other. During their time together, their secrets are gradually revealed. In the end, the grandmother saves the granddaughter, who had no hope for life.

‘Kung Fu Panda 4’

Release date: March 22

The animated feature film is the latest installment of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise. The film follows Po’s adventure in a big city in ancient China to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, after he becomes the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. However, a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has to defeat.

Directed by Mike Mitchell, the film is a story about courage, friendship and growth as Po will face unprecedented difficulties and tests. The film also incorporates many Chinese elements, from clothing, architecture to food, showcasing the unique charm of Chinese culture.

‘Godzilla × Kong: The New Empire’

Release date: March 29

The sci-fi adventure film revolves around the epic battle and final cooperation of the two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, after humans uncover their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island’s mysteries.

A sequel to the 2021 film “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the film also presents an IMAX version to depict the gigantic creatures, their origins and the mysteries of Skull Island on the screen.

‘Anatomy of a Fall’

Release date: March 29

The French courtroom drama is the 2023 winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, which explores the hidden pain in marital relationships, has also garnered five nominations for the 2024 Academy Awards.

The film, written and directed by Justine Triet, tells the story of a woman in a small village who is suspected of murder after her husband’s death. During the investigation, the couple’s life and relationship are put on trial and their son becomes the main witness.


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