Already the world’s best film of 2021, Chinese war epic Battle of Lake Changjin takes over the title of the highest-grossing film ever in China, bringing the former director, 2017’s Wolf Warrior 2. Up to and including Wednesday evening local time, Changjin Lake had reached an estimated RMB 5,693B ($ 890M) after 56 days of release. Wolf Warrior 2 completed to RMB 5,694.5M according to ticket platform Maoyan. Pre-sale for Thursday alone narrows the gap to a difference of about $ 2,000 Changjin Lake‘s ascent imminent. Maoyan predicts a finish of RMB 5.75B ($ 900 million) for the full race, which is due to end on December 30th.
The news, as expected, is making headlines in China, with local businesses including pre-sales to claim the crown for the patriotic Changjin Lake. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian praised the performance on social media today, offering his “congratulations” to actor Wu Jing “for surpassing himself.”
Wu starred Wolf Warrior 2 and also leads Changjin Lake. He will appear again in the sequel, Water Gate Bridge, which is expected in 2022.
With a score of 9.5 from the local audience, Changjin Lake opened for National Day and broke several ticket records across the frame.
Directed by Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam, Battle of Lake Changjin takes place during the second phase of the offensive of the Korean War (or the war to resist American aggression and help Korea, as it is known locally) and tells the story of the People’s Volunteer Army that entered North Korea for the titular battle, which was a turning point in the conflict. Read Deadline’s review here.
The new milestone comes after China’s film administration earlier this month outlined its 14th “Five-Year Plan” for developing Chinese films with plans to increase film screens, promote 10 domestic tent poles each year and require 50 films a year to earn more than RMB 100M ($ 15.6M) on the market. Domestic films should also account for over 55% of the total annual ticket office.
As of mid-November, the world’s largest ticket market had passed RMB 43B ($ 6.7B) for 2021. Hollywood has been kept a bit on the sidelines this year with Marvel movies, which have gained particular access from China. On the deck is Warner Bros. ‘ The Matrix Resurrection which is approved for publication and awaits a date.
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