War epic film 'The Eight Hundred' wins applause

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"The Eight Hundred," a war epic film which has won applause from moviegoers and critics following its Aug. 14 preview screening in China, will see further preview run from Monday through Thursday before its formal release on Friday.

Directed by Guan Hu, whose best-known works include the 2015 film "Mr. Six," "The Eight Hundred" depicts Chinese soldiers' defense of a warehouse against the invading Japanese army during the Battle of Shanghai in 1937.

Box office data compiled by Maoyan, a movie-ticketing and film data platform, showed that as of 8:40 p.m. Monday, "The Eight Hundred" had grossed nearly 59 million yuan (about 8.5 million U.S. dollars) from its preview screenings, of which nearly 45 million yuan was generated on Monday.

Yin Hong, vice chairman of the China Film Association and a professor at Tsinghua University, has hailed "The Eight Hundred" as a movie that "Chinese filmmakers should be proud of."

It marked a new height for Chinese war films, or even Chinese films, following the 2007 Feng Xiaogang film "Assembly," Yin said.

Currently, the film boasts a rating of 9.4 points out of 10 on the Maoyan platform and a rating of 8.1 on Douban, a review platform.

Movie theaters were greenlighted to reopen from July 20 in parts of China deemed to be low-risk areas after months-long closures meant to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

The past couple of days saw an increasing number of major films unveil their theatrical release dates for China, a sign of the gradual recovery of the world's second-biggest box office market.

"The Eight Hundred," shot entirely with IMAX cameras, is the first major Chinese film to land in Chinese theaters since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Overseas, it is slated for release in North America, Australia, and New Zealand on Aug. 28, a week after its formal release in China, according to CMC Pictures, a distributor of the film.

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