'Ne Zha' smashes China's box office records

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 29, 2019
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Chinese IMAX poster of "Ne Zha" [Image courtesy of IMAX China]

Phenomenal Chinese animated feature "Ne Zha," directed by "Jiaozi" (Yang Yu), has shattered a series of Chinese box office records as expected, and is now aiming for the top spot as all-time champion.

The film earned 708 million yuan ($102.87 million) during the last weekend, according to the latest data released on Monday from Beacon, Alibaba Pictures' big data marketing platform. This is the biggest debut weekend ever, as well as the best single week box office gross in China's animation history.

"Ne Zha" went beyond the 100-million-yuan mark in just one and a half hours thanks to its strong presales performance that was the fastest ever. It also broke the opening day record and biggest single day record for animated features, including foreign films, ever screened in China. 

By Sunday, "Ne Zha" had become the fourth biggest grossing Chinese animated film ever, just behind the 2016 Chinese-American animated feature "Kung Fu Panda 3" that grossed 1 billion yuan ($154 million), the 2015 "Monkey King: Hero is Back" that earned 956 million yuan ($138.91 million) and the 2019 "Boonie Bears: Blast into the Past" that took in 714 million yuan ($103.75 million). However, "Ne Zha" is forecast to surpass them all by the end of the second week, considering its still strong momentum. 

Also, as the first Chinese animated feature in an IMAX version, the film took in 54 million yuan ($7.85 million) from super-big screens in more than 600 IMAX theaters around China. The results mark a new IMAX record for the best opening weekend of all animated films released in China, surpassing "Despicable Me 3". It also achieved the best three-day opening weekend for IMAX China in July.

The champion animated feature in China's history is Disney's "Zootopia" (2016) imported from America, which grossed 1.53 billion yuan ($235.59 million). Nevertheless, this should also be overcome as domestic box office analysts are offering box office projections for "Ne Zha" as high as 2 billion yuan ($290.61 million) to 2.7 billion yuan ($392.33 million). 

It is just a matter of time before "Ne Zha" is crowned the champion in China's animation history.

The fantasy film, presented by Enlight Coloroom Picture, Cocoa Bean Animation and October Culture Animation, follows the birth and early years of China's popular mythical male figure Ne Zha, widely known as the incarnation of a lotus, often depicted as a young hero riding on two flaming wheels in Chinese legends and literature such as the classic fantasy works "The Investiture of the Gods" and "Journey to the West." The film also gained rave reviews and achieved a high score of 8.7/10 from more than 290,000 users on China's leading film rating platform Douban.com. 

It not only encourages fellow Chinese animators, but has also injected energy and passion to China's lukewarm film market and the audience in the summer season where many blockbusters held back their release and many others were deemed to have under-performed.  

Beijing Enlight Media established a huge animation branch named Coloroom Pictures in 2015 to challenge America's Pixar Animation Studios. "Ne Zha" is their latest effort to revive the domestic animation industry. 

While "Ne Zha" is delivering exciting success, they are also developing new animated features based on China's mythology legends such as "Jiang Ziya" and "Phoenix" for release over the next two years for Coloroom Picture's myth cinematic universe.

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