Battling for box-office gold

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A scene in the pet-themed film, Adoring, features actor Wallace Chung.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Blockbusters are vying for a major market share of the country's film industry's most lucrative season, where the New Year and Spring Festival period will see a raft of new releases, Xu Fan reports.

A bunch of new blockbusters are gearing up to contend for China's most lucrative box-office season surrounding the New Year and Spring Festival periods.

The latest statistics from Beacon, the movie-data tracker affiliated with tech giant Alibaba Group, shows that up to 81 new movies are due to be released between Thursday and the first day of the upcoming Spring Festival, which will fall on Jan 25.

During the recently concluded 28th China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Festival, which was held in Xiamen, Fujian province, a string of forthcoming blockbusters gathered their stellar casts together in a bid to grab the headlines.

An early runner in this most competitive of movie seasons, director Diao Yinan's latest offering,The Wild Goose Lake-which is due to open on Dec 6-was one of the most sought-after films at the Rooster festival.

Starring actor Hu Ge and actress Kwai Lun-mei, the story follows a fugitive gangster, who crosses paths with an innocent-looking woman hiding a big secret.

Seeking breakthroughs in their acting careers, Hu and Kwai both prepared extensively for their roles. Hu endured tough training sessions in close-quarters combat, while Kwai lived in a shabby apartment building in a low-income area of Wuhan, Hubei province, to better understand her character, a struggling native of the city.

Diao reveals he found inspiration for his character from a news story about a criminal who called his closest relative and asked her to turn him in to the police.

Recalling the two years it took to write the script, Diao says the movie-which takes on a dark tone with most of the scenes taking place at night-aims to offer an in-depth look at people struggling on the edge of society and their efforts to find dignity and meaning in their lives.

The twist-packed film, The Whistleblower, casts actor Lei Jiayin and actress Tang Wei as the leading characters.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Perhaps its most powerful rival,The Whistleblower, an action-packed thriller that sees actress Tang Wei team up with actor Lei Jiayin, will also be released across mainland theaters on Dec 6.

Featuring a twisting plot, the 139-minute film depicts a Chinese employee of an Australian energy company having a one-night stand with the wife of a Chinese mining tycoon. After the fateful night, the woman is scheduled to board a plane that later crashes into the sea. But the woman miraculously survives, and her secret draws the man into a cross-continent adventure to unravel a thrilling crime involving bribery and the security of an entire city.

The movie is the latest drama with director Xue Xiaolu at the helm, as she shifts from lighthearted romances to big-budget action flicks.

Shooting to fame after directingOcean Heaven, starring Jet Li, Xue has solidified her position on the A-list through box-office hits likeFinding Mr Right,Book of Love and My People, My Country, which she codirected with six other directors.

Xue told an audience at a special screening at the Golden Rooster festival that a news story about a Chinese Australian arrested in a bribery case in 2009 provided her with the inspiration for the film.

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