'Dying to Survive' unleashes box office power

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 9, 2018
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An IMAX poster of "Dying to Survive" [Photo / China.org.cn]

Chinese film drama "Dying to Survive" was the largest film release in the world last week, raking in 1.33 billion yuan (US$200 million) in just four days and is set to become one of the highest grossing Chinese films ever. 

The film opened on Thursday, one day ahead of schedule and raked in 160 million yuan (US$24.15 million), on a weekday, as the distributors were so confident amidst staggering good reviews from advanced and limited showings. 

Combining the box office income from the advanced showings, the total gross of the film on its opening day is 323 million yuan (about US$48.52 million). 

According to the ticketing and box office tracking app Maoyan, Friday to Sunday's weekend haul for the film was about 1 billion yuan (nearly US$151 million), making it the second largest weekend film opening in the world, second only to Disney/Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp," which grossed US$161 million in the three-day weekend worldwide.

The four-day total of "Dying to Survive" has surpassed the equivalent-period box office achievement of China's highest grossing juggernaut "Wolf Warrior 2," which grossed 996 million yuan (US$150.28 million), and went on to make a total of 5.68 billion yuan (US$857.5 million) in the Chinese market.

So far, "Dying to Survive" has better reviews than "Wolf Warrior 2." On the film review site Douban.com, the film's rating stands at 9/10 based on 366,340 reviews from users – the highest score for a domestic-made film in over a decade.  

Only a few films in Chinese history have ratings above 9.0 on the review website, including 9.5/10 for Chen Kaige's "Farewell My Concubine" (1993), 9.2/10 for Jeffrey Lau's "A Chinese Odyssey Part Two - Cinderella" (1995), 9.2/10 for Jiang Wen's "Devils on the Doorstep" (2000) , 9.1/10 for Zhang Yimou's "To Live" (1994) , and Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's "Infernal Affairs" (2002) scoring 9.1/10.

"Dying to Survive" is a tear-inducing drama inspired by real life hero Lu Yong which uses dark humor to portray a heart wrecking story of a leukemia patient's struggle for survival by asking a drug dealer to smuggle illegal cheap drugs from India into China. The drug dealer later finds his redemption and becomes a hero saving more patients.

Industry insiders predict it will soon hit the 3-billion-yuan (US$450 million) mark while some are even projecting it to reach 5 billion yuan in takings and surpass "Wolf Warrior 2."

How it fares remains to be seen as it will be competing with blockbuster rivals over the next couple of weekends, including Jiang Wen's most anticipated "Hidden Man," Tsui Hark's "Detective Dee The Four Heavenly Kings" and Yan Fei and Peng Damo's heated comedy "Hello Mr. Billionaire."

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